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Advances in Psychological Science    2012, Vol. 20 Issue (9) : 1467-1478     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2012.01467
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Envy: A Social Emotion Characterized by Hostility Envy: A Social Emotion Characterized by Hostility
WU Bao-Pei;CHANG Lei
Department of Educational Psychology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
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Abstract  Envy is an intense and painful emotion that is mixed with feelings of inferiority, hostility, and resentment often evoked by witnessing the possession and achievement of one’s own desired objects and goals by other individuals in a competitive relationship. Envy is both a trait and a state variable representing a stable disposition as well as a state of mind. Some of the proximate causes of envy include similarity with the involving competitors, self-relevance, perceived control and sense of injustice. From the perspective of evolutionary psychology, envy functions to heighten one’s awareness of potential competitors in competing for resources such as mates and status, and motivates the individual to take actions. The reason that the feeling of hostility usually accompanies envy may lie in the fact that a self-perception of deservedness or entitlement is the default response that motivates competition. Such brain regions as anterior cingulate cortex, ventral striatum, and ventromedial prefrontal lobe are particularly relevant to the processing envy. Envy influences physical and mental health leading to aggression, schadenfreude, as well as prosocial behavior. We discuss these and other causes and correlates of envy within the evolutionary and social psychological framework.
Keywords envy      jealousy      hostility      social emotion      social comparison      evolutionary psychology g     
Corresponding Authors: CHANG Lei   
Issue Date: 15 September 2012
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WU Bao-Pei,CHANG Lei. Envy: A Social Emotion Characterized by Hostility Envy: A Social Emotion Characterized by Hostility[J]. Advances in Psychological Science, 2012, 20(9): 1467-1478.
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