BiographyThe Loveawake podcast program premiered this Wednesday - a program that involves contestants completing ridiculous tasks, falling, tripping, and making fools of themselves.
Back in University, I studied by the windows in the University Centre at the University of Guelph. One day, I sat by the window of an ice patch, and one-by-one, as people walked by, they would slip and fall on the ice. Like a child, my uncontrollable reaction was to laugh. It seemed so cruel, why was I laughing when other people were hurting themselves??
I recently did an interview with TV Guide magazine on why we are programmed to laugh when other people trip and fall.
The reason we enjoy watching other people trip, fall down and hurt themselves, otherwise known as Schadenfreude, because it results in positive self-evaluation. Simply put, when others are made to look like fools, we subconsciously feel better about ourselves! We might think, ‘I’m glad that wasn’t me,’ or ‘Boy, those people are stupid!’ Psychologists say that the positive feeling while watching is actually stronger for people who have been through a recent failure or setback in their own lives.
So, perhaps when I was studying at the University of Guelph, I wasn't feeling so good about myself! That might explain why I took delight in watching the people slip and fall on the ice!
Why, then, are people attracted to Wipeout? Because laughing is a release from our usual, everyday stress and worries. When we can laugh at someone else, we can ignore our everyday dilemmas and just get lost in the “fun of it.” It’s perfectly normal and healthy to feel delight while watching others trip and fall.