Emotions and Hierarchy

Emotions and Hierarchy

The relationship between preferences for hierarchy and empathic and counter-empathic emotions

Preference for hierarchy is related to the motivation to feel less empathy and more schadenfreude towards low status people

In three studies we show that higher levels of social dominance orientation (SDO) is related to the desire and choice to feel less empathy and schadenfreude toward low-status targets.

Preference for hierarchy is associated with reduced empathy and increased counter-empathy towards others, especially out-group targets

SDO is negatively related to empathy and positively related to counter-empathy in general. When group boundaries are made salient, the relationship between SDO, empathy, and schadenfreude become stronger for out-group targets, even in a novel groups paradigm and only when groups are competing.