Ripples of contempt: aversive responses to others (mis)fortunes

Jacob Hornik*, Matti Rachamim, Ori Grossman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this short commentary we argue that feelings of contempt play a major role in schadenfreude (joy in the misfortunes of others) and “reverse schadenfreude”—gluckschmerz (sadness at the fortunes of others). We used qualitative mixed-mode comparative analysis of the major characteristics/features of negative sentiments, to explore a possible link between contempt and schadenfreude and gluckschmerz. Findings, especially from the political partisan polarization literature have shown that the investigated sentiments share many of their important characteristics, suggesting a possible relationship in the form of higher level of contempt possibly triggering a higher level of schadenfreude and gluckschmerz.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)809-817
Number of pages9
JournalMotivation and Emotion
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Contempt
  • Gluckschmerz
  • Schadenfreude


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