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Deservingness, liking relations, schadenfreude, and other discrete emotions in the context of the outcomes of plagiarism

Authors

  • Norman T. Feather,

    Corresponding author
    1. Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, School of Psychology, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
    • Correspondence: Norman T. Feather, PhD, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, School of Psychology, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia. Email: norman.feather@flinders.edu.au

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  • Ian R. McKee

    1. Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, School of Psychology, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
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Abstract

This study investigated effects of like/dislike relations on schadenfreude and other discrete emotions in the context of plagiarism. The predicted emotions were derived from a structural analysis of how the appraisal of deservingness affects emotional reactions to positive or negative outcomes for self or other. One hundred forty-six undergraduate participants responded to scenarios in which either hypothetical self or other (a classmate) plagiarised information from the internet for a class assignment and either received a high grade (undeserved outcome) or a penalty (deserved outcome). Hypothetical self was represented as either high or low in self-esteem, other as liked or disliked. As predicted, liking relations moderated perceived deservingness. Schadenfreude (or pleasure) occurred when the disliked classmate received a deserved penalty for detected plagiarism but not when he/she suffered an undeserved positive outcome. This difference was reversed for the emotion of disappointment. Effects on other discrete emotions such as guilt and resentment are also reported.

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