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The Schadenfreude Scale

Worried that you relish others’ misfortunes a little too much? Use this scale to see if you revel on the side of mischief.

Mark Travers, Ph.D.

By Mark Travers, Ph.D. | November 13, 2023

"Schadenfreude" refers to the joy one experiences at the misfortune of others. Although it is considered a socially undesirable emotion, schadenfreude is a common experience, and it is now under the psychologist's microscope.

The experience of schadenfreude is understandable and even cathartic in some moments. If someone you don't particularly like or someone who has wronged you in the past stumbles, it can be natural to experience a fleeting moment of joy at their expense. However, excessive schadenfreude is also known to be associated with dark traits and behaviors. This connection highlights the novel interest in the emotion, and begs the question of how much schadenfreude is too much?

In light of these questions and interests, the Schadenfreude Scale was developed to quantify the intensity of the joy experienced at others' misfortunes. Through the Schadenfreude Scale, researchers were able to conclude that schadenfreude varies both across different scenarios and among persons.

The Schadenfreude Scale is a useful tool that allows for rigorous research and conceptualization of schadenfreude, and empowers psychologists with the means to uncover the causes, mechanics and effects of experiencing happiness at others' downfall.

You can take this test here. Please follow all of the steps to receive your results.

Step 1: Rate the following statements based on how much you agree with them on a scale of strongly disagree to strongly agree.

Step 2: Enter your age, gender, region, and first name so we can provide you with a detailed report that compares your test scores to people similar to you.

Step 3: Check to make sure you've provided answers to all of the statements/questions above. Once you've done that, click the button below to send your responses to Awake Therapy's Lead Psychologist, Mark Travers, Ph.D. He will provide you with an overview of how you scored relative to others (all answers are anonymized and confidential to protect users' privacy). He can also answer any follow-up questions you may have.

References: Crysel, L. C. & Webster, G. D. (2018). Schadenfreude and the spread of political misfortune. PLOS One, 13(9), 1-27.

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