“Revenge serves a very useful purpose – even the idea of seeking it gives us pleasure. Why is this?”
By: Melissa Hogenboom
Published: BBC, 3 April 2017 http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170403-the-hidden-upsides-of-revenge
Level of Difficulty: **
BEFORE YOU START
Watch, listen and take notes in preparation for the reading task
· Clip 1: Is revenge bad? (Templeton Foundation) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hi-wcMbusM
· Clip 2: The evolutionary origins of revenge (Templeton Foundation) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCXaDFUFT6E
· Clip 3: The forgiveness instinct (Templeton Foundation) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpydvrO-z1A
· Clip 4: Forgiveness and social development (Templeton Foundation) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MQ-H1I8WNw
1. Which paragraphs constitute the introduction? Now answer the questions on this section:
· What conclusion can be drawn from the abundance of works such as Othello, Orestes, Hamlet?
· What are the developmental paragraphs going to focus on?
2. Continue reading. Which paragraphs constitute the next section? Now answer the questions on this section:
· What conclusion can be drawn from the statistics provided in the section?
· The factor that enables people to go from being insulted or being wronged to the desire to respond in kind can be called…….
· What does it refer to in the phrase “what causes it”?
3. Continue reading. Which paragraphs constitute the next section? Now answer the questions:
· How does the writer justify his contention that “Revenge really can be sweet”?
· What conclusion can be drawn from Chester and DeWall’s recent experiment?
· Logically, the placebo given in the second phase of the experiment shouldn’t have worked. But it did because…
· Explain what exactly is meant by the sentence “And it worked.”
4. Continue reading. Where does the next section of the text start and where does it end? Now answer the questions:
· What does “That” refer to in the phrase “That begins a cycle…”?
· The desire to seek revenge can resemble an addiction in that…
· That the desire for revenge has persisted in the human race seems to indicate that………….
· The evolutionary advantage of revenge is that…
· What widespread interpretation of revenge has McColough proved wrong? Revenge…
5. Continue reading. Where does the next section start and where does it end? Now answer the questions:
· Two groups of people have been found to be more likely to seek revenge. They are…
· The fact that revenge is a knee-jerk reaction for some people even when the imagined rejection does not exist indicates that these individuals are …
· How is it that self harm satisfies the need for revenge?
· How does the writer justify his contention that “There is hope whether we are aware of it or not.”? By drawing attention to…
6. Read the conclusion. It is implied in this paragraph that:
· The desire for revenge has survival value
· The desire for revenge has outgrown its usefulness
· The desire for revenge demands immediate satisfaction
· The desire for revenge protected our ancient ancestors
7. Look back at the development of the text and give each section a subtitle. Select from the list. There are more items than you need. Subtitles in no particular order:
· There is a reason for the madness
· Revenge is bittersweet
· Maybe they will, maybe they won’t
· Retaliation is cathartic
· Blame the reward circuit
· Going from A to B
· Quit complaining; it is all good
Use all you have learnt to write about the advantages and disadvantages of revenge. Listen to this public lecture before you do so:
· REVENGE, FORGIVENESS, HUMAN NATURE, AND THE HAPPY SOCIETY: SOME LESSONS FOR LAW https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSz2sG4iugI
THE HIDDEN UPSIDES OF REVENGE KEY AND TEACHERS’ NOTES
The desire for revenge is a very common theme in literature, mythology and history; not mention people’s private lives. This interesting text is a scientific analysis of the evolutionary advantages of revenge as well as the down sides. It also provides insight into what goes on in the brain and which people are more prone to retaliatory aggression. Women, naturally, emerge smelling of roses; sorry guys! Again it is text with lots of potential for discussion and a good writing task.
1. The first three paragraphs. /Literature has used revenge throughout history /The upsides of revenge
2. The section begins: “Revenge is a powerful… “ and ends “I started studying revenge”/ Revenge is a powerful emotional trigger that mobilizes people into action. / psychological middlemen / the desire to retaliate
3. The section begins “He set out to uncover…” and ends “…who had not been rejected”/ Rejection activates the brain’s known reward circuit, the nucleus accumbens / Revenge provides its own special form of pleasure. / The placebo group believed they would feel no pleasure from seeking revenge./ After having the opportunity to get revenge, the rejected individuals scored the same on mood tests as those who had not been rejected.
4. The section begins: “This finding, however,…” and ends “….curtail their desire for revenge”/ Feeling good / those who seek it fail to anticipate disastrous personal consequences. / Revenge serves a very useful purpose. /It works as a deterrent./ Is not the product of afflicted minds.
5. It starts “It might be comforting to know…” and ends “… we are aware of it or not”. / Men and those with higher levels of rejection sensitivity / more neurotic, anxious and depressed/ Self harm makes people feel they are in control of something. /Our very sophisticated pre-frontal cortex that can inhibit impulsive behavior and guide the desire for retaliatory aggression to more social outcomes.
6. The second
7. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t = Section 5 / There is a reason for the madness= Section 4 / Blame the reward circuit= Section 3 / Going from A to B. The first section is the introduction and the last paragraph is the conclusion.