Men 'get pleasure from seeing revenge'

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The Independent Online

Men get greater satisfaction than women from seeing someone they dislike suffer pain shows a study of how people react when witnessing revenge. Scientists found highly significant differences between the genders in how male and the female brains respond.

Men and women feel empathy with people they know experiencing pain but in men the empathy turns to pleasure when the victim is someone they dislike.

Researchers from University College London said the findings are the first scientifically based evidence to suggest there is male schadenfreude, a feeling of pleasure at seeing revenge exacted.

Tania Singer, of the Wellcome department of imaging neuroscience, used brain scanners to show regions of the brain get activated when a person feels empathy for someone else suffering pain.

Her study, in the journal Nature, attempted to explain whether this was simply an automatic response to seeing someone in pain or whether it can be affected by whether the victim is liked or disliked. Their experiment, involving 32 male and female volunteers, showed men appear to have a greater predisposition to wishing those who are unfair being punished.