Thursday, February 26, 2009

Envy and Schadenfreude in the brain.

Takahasi et al. show that experiencing envy at another person's success activates pain-related neural circuitry, whereas experiencing schadenfreude--delight at someone else's misfortune--activates reward-related neural circuitry. A graphic from the perspectives article by Lieberman and Eisenberger:

The pain and pleasure systems. The pain network consists of the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC), insula (Ins), somatosensory cortex (SSC), thalamus (Thal), and periaqueductal gray (PAG). This network is implicated in physical and social pain processes. The reward or pleasure network consists of the ventral tegmental area (VTA), ventral striatum (VS), ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC), and the amygdala (Amyg). This network is implicated in physical and social rewards.

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