Envy and Jealousy

Forums Ask a Descriptive Psychologist Envy and Jealousy

This topic contains 2 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Erol Zeybekoglu 5 years, 11 months ago.

  • Author
  • #2418

    Richard Heinrich

    What is a DP understanding of the emotions of envy and jealousy? Are they the same or are they different?

  • #2447


    Both have a family resemblance but they take different focal objects. Envy generally involves a problematic inequity based on a person’s self status assignment and the status they attribute to someone else. Someone they envy.

    Jealousy in contrast involves a focus on the other’s threat to one’s valued possessions and/or an uncomfortable desire for their possessions.

    Understandably these get mixed. A person is understandably envious of another’s superior position and may see that superior position as a threat to keeping their possession.

    Pretty abstract but consider the boy or girl that seemed better than you and got the boy or girl you had or wanted.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 12 months ago by  wynn_schwartz.
  • #2520

    Erol Zeybekoglu

    In DP, emotion terms denote a relationship, rather than the affect state of an individual.

    For example, to say “P is afraid of x” is to say the relationship of P to x is such that “x is a perceived threat to P”.

    This necessarily involves an appraisal of significance (e.g. “x is a threat”, rather than “x is a support”) which may or may not be based on affect appraisal (e.g. “x makes me feel tense”, rather than “x makes me feel relaxed”), but does not necessarily require an active affect state (e.g. “I fear x, so I try not to think about it too much”).

    Jealousy and envy both seem to express a relational position one holds to another person, or at least, the personified version of a non-person (e.g. “I wish I could just lay down like that rug over there”). While sometimes we don’t envy the object we are jealous of (e.g. I’d like to lay down like the rug, but as me, not as the rug), it doesn’t change the fact that we envy a hypothetical “other” person (i.e. I, the person standing, envy a hypothetical version of myself that is lying down). So in that sense, it seems to involve some appraisal of a current status, and an additional appraisal of the same person as an “other” person, holding a different status, or place in the scheme of things.

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Register here