Lange, Jens (2016). The elicitation of the most joyless of all sins: Determinants of benign and malicious envy. PhD thesis, Universität zu Köln.

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Envy stems from a frustrating upward comparison and leads to diverse affective, cognitive, and behavioral changes aimed at leveling the status difference between the envier and the envied person. Benign envy increases efforts to improve the envier's status whereas malicious envy increases efforts to harm the envied person's position. Still, the elicitation of envy is poorly understood. I propose a model for the elicitation of envy in which appraisals of personal control over reaching the envied person's status-yielding standard and deservingness of the advantage coordinate envy's diverse components—a conceptualization of benign and malicious envy as a social-functional emotion syndromes. Dispositional and situational determinants that affect the appraisal dimensions should therefore elicit either benign or malicious envy. Chapter 2 demonstrates that different forms of achievement motivation modulate envy, which is in line with the notion that they are theoretically linked to appraisals of personal control. Hope for success relates to dispositional benign envy, while the latter correlates with increased performance in long-distance runners. In contrast, fear of failure relates to dispositional malicious envy, while the latter is associated with the avoidance of a time goal. Chapter 3 demonstrates that superior individuals' pride displays modulate envy by conveying affective and inferential information to observers, which is in line with the notion that they are theoretically linked to appraisals of deservingness and personal control. Authentic pride displays are likable and convey status in the form of prestige, increasing benign envy. Hubristic pride displays are less likable and convey status in the form of dominance, increasing malicious envy. Collectively, the evidence supports the model of the elicitation of envy. I highlight future research opportunities regarding the coordination of envy's components and how this approach informs emotion research in general.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD thesis)
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
Lange, Jensjens.lange@uni-koeln.deUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-66232
Date: February 2016
Language: English
Faculty: Faculty of Human Sciences
Divisions: Faculty of Human Sciences > Department Psychologie
Subjects: Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:
benign and malicious envy; emotion elicitation; emotion syndrome; achievement motivation; authentic and hubristic prideEnglish
Date of oral exam: 12 February 2016
NameAcademic Title
Mussweiler, ThomasProf. Dr.
Unkelbach, ChristianProf. Dr.
Refereed: Yes


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