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Proof That Revenge Is A Dish Best Served Cold

Revenge really is a dish best served cold--as people who feel wronged by someone else can take up to a year to exact retribution, according to new research. Instant retaliation is uncommon, say Dutch psychologists, who found that only about one person in ten strikes back immediately after being offended.

Study co-author Maartje Elshout said, “Our results show that revenge takes place after some time. Real-life revenge is not so much focused on deterrence, but on restoring self-esteem or a sense of power. The act of revenge does not need to be instantaneous nor proportional.”

In the study, Dr. Elshout and her team quizzed nearly 2,000 people aged 16 to 89 about their experience of revenge. Results show that 14 percent took revenge immediately, within a minute. About 36 per cent took up to a week, with 23 percent striking one to four weeks later. Some 21 percent hit back between one month and a year later, and around five percent took more than a year to get their own back. Dr. Elshout said, “Our findings suggest that revenge is typically delayed.”

Revenge acts admitted by participants in the study include infidelity, damaging a car, disclosing secrets, making false accusations, and trying to get someone fired. Other ways of taking revenge included humiliating someone, gossiping, lying, and breaking a promise.

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