Sadism is a trait that is only reserved for humans

A feeling that just about anyone feels can be a sign that you are a psychopath

If you've laughed at a video that someone fell on, you probably belong to the majority of internet users. It happens quickly to get infected by the comedy of certain content on the Internet. However, you quickly forget that the videos are about real people.

Schadenfreude can express itself in different ways

In some situations, however, schadenfreude comes to the fore more clearly - for example, when someone on the Internet is belittled for their mistakes and you simply join in. Or are you happy that a certain sports team has been eliminated from a major tournament?

According to psychologists at Emory University in the United States, Schadenfreude often says a lot about people with negative personality traits. In a specialist article published in the science magazine “New Ideas in Psychology”, researchers explain the connection between malicious pleasure and aggression, rivalry and justice. One thing is clear: Something pretty bad connects these three emotions.

The dark side of schadenfreude

"Dehumanization seems to be at the core of Schadenfreude," said Shensheng Wang, one of the study's authors and a PhD student at Emory University in psychology. "Scenarios such as cross-group conflicts trigger malicious pleasure and also tend to promote dehumanization."

Dehumanization means denying a person or group of people positive human qualities. In essence, you no longer perceive them as human and feel no compassion for them.

Dehumanization is quite easy when something disconnects you from the event or the person you are observing. You don't know the person from the video on the Internet.

Another example is a natural disaster that happens on the other side of the world. You are just too far away to understand some developments.

In a way, Schadenfreude is an example of dehumanization. It is very unlikely that you would be happy if bad things happened to people you care about.

Schadenfreude represents our inner worries

“We all experience schadenfreude, but we don't like to think about it. It shows how ambivalent we can be towards our fellow human beings, ”says psychologist Philippe Rochat, one of the authors of the study.

“Schadenfreude points to our deeply rooted concerns. It is important to deal with it if we want to understand human nature. "

Scott Lilienfeld, the study's third author, added that malicious pleasure overlaps with some negative personality traits such as sadism, narcissism, and psychopathy.

At some level, it can help understand what sociopathic, psychopathic, or narcissistic abusers feel when they hurt someone close to them.

People with psychopathic disorders are clearly identifiable

In relationships, people with negative personality traits are uncompromising, complicated, and controlling. You are attracted to successful, kind, and strong people because you can destroy them. That in turn irritates them.

Psychologists and therapists disagree about whether these people are deliberately harming their partners or whether they cannot control it because of their personality. It seems clear that they enjoy it and live from it. Relationships with such people always mean hard work.

It's okay not to have compassion in some situations. Often times, as soon as you worry about being a psychopath, there is a high probability that you are not.

It is only a sign of a personality disorder when you have absolutely no intention of empathizing with other people. This is where schadenfreude could be a sign of a disorder.

This article has been translated from English