Low self-esteem makes you enjoy misfortune of others

December 13th, 2011 - 6:06 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Dec 13 (IANS) Blame your low self-esteem for gloating when someone slips and falls or spills coffee down his or her shirt, suggest scientists from Leiden University in the Netherlands.

“If somebody enjoys the misfortune of others, then there’s something in that misfortune that is good for the person,” said study co-author Wilco W van Dijk.

Van Dijk and his colleagues drew their conclusions after testing 70 undergraduates by asking them to read two interviews, reported the Daily Mail.

The first was about an ambitious student who was aiming to secure a dream job. The second was a chat with his supervisor who revealed that his academic success had been extremely patchy and that he wouldn’t be offered the role.

The volunteers were then given various statements and asked to what degree they agreed with them. Their responses would measure their susceptibility to such gloating.

The statements included “I enjoy[ed] what happened to Marleen/Mark” and “I couldn’t resist a little smile”.

Self-esteem levels had been worked out in a separate test before this stage of the experiment and the results show that those with a low opinion of themselves were happiest at learning of a student’s misfortune.

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