Background and Publications
Bachelor of Science, Clarkson University (Psychology, with concentration in Math), 1989
Master of Science, University of Georgia (Psychology), 1992
Ph.D., University of Georgia (Social Psychology), 1995
Greenier, K. D. (2017). The relationship between personality and schadenfreude in hypothetical versus live situations. Psychological Reports (in press).
In this study, I examined various personality correlates of schadenfreude. That is, are there certain kinds of people, based on their personalities, who are more or less likely to experience schadenfreude (pleasure derived from another person’s misfortune)? I presented people with hypothetical scenarios involving target people experiencing misfortunes. I found that schadenfreude was positively correlated with the Dark Triad (Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy) and belief in a just world; negatively correlated with empathy and agreeableness; and uncorrelated with dispositional envy, self-esteem, or the other Big Five traits (neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, conscientiousness). I also wanted to demonstrate that responses to hypothetical scenarios are representative of schadenfreude responses to real-life events, so I brought the same participants back a month later and exposed them to a live schadenfreude situation (a misbehaving confederate got ejected from the study—without credit—for misbehaving and being disruptive). Unfortunately, personality did not predict schadenfreude in the live situation at all, which may suggest that hypothetical situations may not be truly representative of real-life schadenfreude events.
Greenier, K. D. (2015). Seeing you fall vs. taking you down: The roles of agency and liking in schadenfreude. Psychological Reports, 116(3), 941-953.
Found that feelings of schadenfreude (pleasure in the misfortunes of others) were strongest when the participant was directly responsible for the downfall of a rude other (vs just being a passive observer of it).
Greenier, K.D., Devereaux, R.S., Hawkins, K.C., Hancock, S.D., & Johnston, M. (2001). Social facilitation: The quest for true mere presence. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 16 (1), 19-34.
Tested a new technique for creating mere presence (a present, but non-evaluative, audience). Mere presence was sufficient to affect task performance, especially on an easy task
Greenier, K.D., Kernis, M.H., Whisenhunt, C.R., Waschull, S.B., Berry, A.J., Herlocker, C.E., & Abend, T.A. (1999). Individual differences in reactivity to daily events: Examining the roles of stability and level of self-esteem. Journal of Personality, 67 (1), 185-208.
Had people record the most positive and most negative events that happened to them each day for two weeks, and their reactions to those events. Found (among other things) that people with unstable self-esteem were more likely to be strongly affected by daily events (i.e., to have their self-esteem increase or decrease as result of the events) - especially for negative events.
Kernis, M.H., Whisenhunt, C.R., Waschull, S.B., Greenier, K.D., Berry, A.J., Herlocker, C.E., & Anderson, C.A. (1998). Multiple facets of self-esteem and their relations to depressive symptoms. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 24(6), 657-668.
Found that depressive symptoms were highest among people with unstable low self-esteem. People with unstable self-esteem (regardless of whether it was high or low) showed the largest amount of increase in depressive symptoms over time, especially if such people reported substantial daily hassles.
Kernis, M.H., Greenier, K.D., Herlocker, C.E., Whisenhunt, C.R., & Abend, T.A. (1997). Self perceptions of reactions to doing well or poorly: The roles of stability and level of self-esteem. Personality and Individual Differences, 22, 845-854.
Greenier, K.D., Kernis, M.H., & Waschull, S.B. (1995). Not all high (or low) self-esteem people are the same: Theory and research on stability of self-esteem. In M.H. Kernis (Ed.), Efficacy, Agency, and Self-esteem (pp. 51-71). New York: Plenum.
Chapter review of theory and research on stability of self-esteem.
Pegalis, L.J., Shaffer, D.R., Bazzini, D.G., & Greenier, K. (1993). On the ability to elicit self-disclosure: Are there gender-based and contextual limitations on the opener effect? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 20, 412-420.
Found that women self-disclose (reveal personal information to another) more than men when social interactions are expected, but men self-disclose more than women when work-related interactions are expected.