More than ever, in the last years, emotion research has disclosed in depth-insight into interrelations of emotions in communication. The study of emotions in and through media is attracting attention not only in communication studies but also in neighboring disciplines. This ICA panel brings together key findings in the field in order to systematically bring together these insights with the aim of better comprehending the diverse spectrums of mediatized emotions and their influence within communication processes.

Current perspectives: Katrin Döveling / Lilian Suter: “Seeing others suffer and authentically enjoying it? Schadenfreude, moral deservingness and the impact of social norms in media enjoyment

Americas funniest home videos or fail video clips on YouTube: People authentically enjoy watching the misfortunes of others. Schadenfreude, the joy then felt is a complex emotion worth studying. But why do we authentically laugh at those who suffer?

Whereas authentic or genuine emotions can be described as sincere and spontaneous responses to the eliciting situation (Salmela, 2005), inauthentic emotional expressions unfold when genuine emotions are suppressed or when unfelt emotions are displayed (Zloteanu & Krumhuber, 2021).

This talk will point out factors that foster or hinder an authentic display of schadenfreude during media reception. Key findings from multi-methodological studies using observational and survey data are revealed. The results disclose how schadenfreude and empathy are engendered. Furthermore, responsibility and moral deservingness seem to be important aspects. The social context and the impact of social norms are vital. Additionally, recipient characteristics such as personality traits enhance the proneness to schadenfreude.