We explore why people feel the socially improper emotions of schadenfreude and gluckschmerz. One explanation follows from sentiment relations. Prior dislike leads to both schadenfreude and gluckschmerz. A second explanation relates to concerns over justice. Deserved misfortune is pleasing and undeserved good fortune is displeasing. A third explanation concerns appraisal of the good or bad fortunes of others as creating either benefit or harm for the self or in-group. Especially in competitive situations and when envy is present, gain is pleasing (...) and loss is displeasing. Both emotions have important implications for understanding human relations at the individual and group levels. (shrink)
We address the differences between schadenfreude and happiness and those between gluckschmerz and anger. We argue that these emotions are largely elicited by distinct interactions of appraisals that trigger distinct emotional responses. Moreover, we discuss both schadenfreude and gluckschmerz in relation to the emotional lexicon of several languages and conclude that these emotions help us to better understand human behaviour.