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Young adults are more envious than their elders—and about more things

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall – who’s the fairest of them all?” New research doesn’t have an answer to that. But it does give clues as to who is the “enviest” and would have been more likely to pester (and fester) with the question in the first place: Snow White, not her stepmother. If only fairy tales lined up with data.

According to a University of California, San Diego paper published in the journal Basic and Applied Social Psychology, young adults are more envious than older adults. They are more envious over looks and for a wider range of other reasons, too. It also appears that both men and women are more likely to someone who is approximately their own age. What the Snow White story does get right, it seems, is that people tend to envy someone of the same gender.

The paper is coauthored by UC San Diego psychology professor Christine Harris and graduate student Nicole Henniger.

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