Download Audio
photoWe've all felt it, more than we're likely to admit, but most of us didn't know it had a name... Schadenfreude (SHAH-den-froi-duh), the delighting in other's misfortunes is that feeling you get when the person you don't like slips on a banana peel or that CEO you've envied faces jail-time. With big shots like Martha Stewart, Kenneth Lay, and Dennis Kozlowski facing possible punishment for their business wrongdoings, schadenfreude has become this summer's guilty pleasure. Scientists, psychologists, and philosophers have recently looked at schadenfreude with a more clinical eye, trying to figure out why people can't help feeling this emotion that we both delight in and find repugnant at the same time. Tonight we take a deeper look into schadenfreude.


John Portmann, professor of religion at the University of Virginia and author of "When Bad Things Happen to Other People"

John Tooby, Co-director of the Center of Evolutionary Psychology at the University of California in Santa Barbara

Aaron Ben Ze'ev, professor of philosophy at the University of Haifa and author of "The Subtlety of Emotions"

This program aired on August 29, 2002.


More from On Point

Listen Live