Schadenfreude is the experience of pleasure, joy, or self-satisfaction that comes from learning of or witnessing the troubles, failures, or humiliation of another.

Schadenfreude has been detected in children as young as 24 months and may be an important social emotion establishing "inequity aversion".

Schadenfreude is borrowed from German. It is a compound of "Schaden", "damage, harm", and "Freude", "joy".

Researchers have found that there are three driving forces behind schadenfreude: aggression, rivalry, and justice.

A "New York Times" article in 2002 cited a number of scientific studies of schadenfreude, which it defined as "delighting in others' misfortune". Many such studies are based on social comparison theory, the idea that when people around us have bad luck, we look better to ourselves. Other researchers have found that people with low self-esteem are more likely to feel schadenfreude than are those who have high self-esteem.

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