Envy and admiration: Emotion and motivation following upward social comparison

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Abstract

Two key emotions people can experience when someone else is better than them are envy and admiration. There are conflicting findings in the scientific literature on which behaviour is elicited by these emotions. In one study (with two samples, total N = 345), we test which motivations are triggered by envy and admiration. The main finding is that (benign) envy and admiration both lead to a motivation to improve oneself. This confirms earlier findings that admiration leads to a motivation to affiliate with the admired other and a motivation to improve one's own position. Furthermore, it supports the idea that envy can lead to both a motivation to improve oneself and a motivation to pull down the envied other, finding support for a subtypes theory of envy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-200
JournalCognition and Emotion
Volume31
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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