Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 43, Issue 4, pp 648–661 | Cite as

The effect of malicious envy on the framing effect: The mediating role of fear of failure

  • Xi Kang
  • Baoshan ZhangEmail author
  • Yanling BiEmail author
  • Xiaoxiao Huang
Original Paper


Extensive research has confirmed that negative emotions play a key role in the framing effect. Yet little is known about whether and how malicious envy modulates the framing effect. To examine the potential impact and mechanism of malicious envy on the framing effect, two experiments were conducted in which participants were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: a malicious envy condition and a control condition. In Experiment 1, after malicious envy was activated and measured, the participants were asked to complete a framing task. The results showed that participants in the malicious envy group made more risk-averse choices in the gain frame than those in the control group, but these two groups of participants did not exhibit a behavioral difference in the loss frame. In Experiment 2, the procedure was identical to Experiment 1, except that, after the malicious envy scale was administered, two scales were used to measure hope for success and fear of failure. Experiment 2 revealed the same effect of malicious envy on decision making in the framing task. Experiment 2 also found that malicious envy activated two types of achievement motivation. Further, fear of failure mediated the effect of malicious envy on risky decision making in the framing task, while hope for success did not mediate the effect. The relationships between malicious envy, framing effect, and achievement motivation have important implications with respect to interventions for malicious envy.


Malicious envy Risky decision making The framing effect Fear of failure Mediation 



This research was supported by the Research Program Funds of the Collaborative Innovation Center of Assessment toward Basic Education Quality at Beijing Normal University (2018-05-017-BZPK01). The authors would like to thank Rhoda Perozzi and Edmund Perozzi. For English editing assistance on this paper.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the local institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all the individual participants included in the study.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyShaanxi Normal UniversityXi’anChina
  2. 2.Shaanxi Normal University BranchCollaborative Innovation Center of Assessment Toward Basic Education Quality at Beijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina

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