These feelings help us learn how to get along by watching what others do wrong and understanding how they acquire things.
Scientists discovered a small cluster of brain cells that cause us to notice and take delight in the mistakes others make, but ignore our own mistakes. This is schadenfreude which is pronounced, "shade 'n freud" like Sigmund Freud.
We know the mirror neuron system helps us learn by imitating others, but there’s another process in play.
Mirror neurons team up with a “bean-counting system” that makes an object in someone else’s possession automatically more desirable by creating jealousy.
This “upgrade” happens in two steps. First, mirror neurons detect that someone has something of interest and then, that information gets sent to the brain’s system that assigns value. This ratchets up its value.
Parents, keep teaching your kids not to be jealous or take delight in others’ bad luck. But also know these feelings help kids learn.
Join me on Facebook at Dr. Claudia McCulloch.
At DrClaudia.net, click on the "Ask Me" button and send me a question.
Sign up for the Sunday newsletter. Don't miss a thing!