Published: January 24, 2006

"......schadenfreude, which I always thought meant "shades of Freud" but actually means taking pleasure in someone else's misfortune, has been located in the brain....." "First the experimental subjects watched people playing a game in which some cheated (bad people) and others played fair (good people). Then they watched the same people suffering from a painful stimulus.

The empathy circuits lighted up in both men and women when bad things happened to good people. When bad things happened to bad people, the women in the study were still empathic. But not the men. Not only did they show less empathy toward bad people, but the reward center in the left nucleus accumbens lighted up. All that translates as "Serves him right!"

On MRI Schadenfreude apparently shows "...a reward center lighting up and the empathy circuits dimming."      It "..... might also be active in anticipation of chocolate, for instance, and in drug addiction."