Have you noticed that certain people sometimes rejoice at the failures of other people? Where does this feeling come from? Even small children rejoice in the failures of others. It turns out that gloating is associated with dehumanization. Here's how it works: these are results of special experiments.
A person is able to experience a wide range of different feelings. Both worthy and not very worthy. Among the latter, one can single out a feeling called “joy from harm of others (Schadenfreude) ”. This is a special pleasure that the misfortunes of others bring us. Is that familiar? Admit it! We like to see how the career of a star goes into the abyss, when a long-wanted criminal finds himself in prison or when a rival football team flies out of the final.
Why do we feel joy when others fail
How to identify this emotion? It is born in such a wide range of situations that it seems incredibly difficult to bring it under a single basis.
Different types of gloat
There is no universally accepted interpretation of gloating. Some are convinced that this emotion is appropriate to consider in terms of social comparison, and focus on the interaction of envy / resentment with gloating. Others tie this emotion to justice (like what the person got what he deserved).
The discrepancies in the definition of gloating indicate its diversity, each of its sides may have a different origin.
Children and gloating
There is evidence that even in early childhood we begin to experience a feeling of gloating, or pleasure because of someone else's bad luck .
Here is an example. Four years old children accept someone’s failure (falling into a muddy puddle or on slippery ice) and it is for them all the more funny if the person somehow hurt them, for example, took away toys, offended, beaten them, etc.
Experts have come to the conclusion that two-year-old babies, envious of their peers, are indescribable delighted if troubles occur with these peers. And at the age of seven, the child becomes more satisfied with the victory in the game if his opponent lost in this case than when they won together.
In 2013, an interesting study was conducted, in which specialists worked with nine-month-old babies. Scientists allowed the babies to observe how dolls “behave” with each other. Some dolls “enjoyed” the types of food that babies liked, while other dolls had different tastes. Further, some dolls began to “offend” others. And here it turned out that the kids preferred that those dolls who did not share their taste preferences suffer, and not those who liked the same food as the children.
The studies described above tell us that malevolence is a complex emotion deeply rooted in our nature. But is it possible to reduce so many kinds of gloating to one common denominator? As a result, the idea arose to consider gloating as a form of dehumanization. What is dehumanization? It is removal from a person any human qualities.
For most of us, the very word “dehumanization” is associated with something negative. In this regard, we imagine the worst-case scenario: the absolute denial of someone's humanity. To make it clear, you can cause an association with the dungeons, wars and racist manifestations. So, in our opinion, dehumanization “works”.
But it is not so. Psychologists were able to prove that, considering people as representatives of "our" group, at the same time - implicitly - we deny the humanity of those people who are outside our conditional group.
There is an assumption that a person behaves as follows: the more sympathy he/she feels towards someone, the less likely it will be that that person No. 1 (let's call it that) will feel gloating when No. 2 will suffer.
To experience one direction malevolence - be it an opponent, an enemy, a stranger, a criminal - is possible if this person is dehumanized in one way or another. Only in this case the problems and sorrows of the sufferer will give satisfaction to someone.
The relationship between the feeling of gloating and dehumanization can raise doubts, especially since gloating (or joy over failures of others) is a fairly universal emotion. But dehumanization takes place in our thinking much more often than is commonly believed.
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