Fantasies of Revenge: An Evolutionary and Individual Differences Account

Stephen M. Yoshimura, Susan D. Boon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study, we examine the descriptive qualities of revenge fantasies and test evolutionary and individual-difference accounts for the experience of them. Participants recalled and described a revenge fantasy, and rated its recency, duration, intensity, and the frequency with which they fantasized about revenge overall. They also completed measures of narcissistic entitlement and vengefulness. Consistent with an evolutionary approach to understanding revenge, the results show that men were twice as likely to report fantasies of direct/overt acts of revenge than were women. Vengefulness and narcissistic entitlement did not relate to whether the fantasized revenge act was direct/overt or indirect/covert, but related to the frequency and intensity of participants’ revenge fantasies and the affective experiences participants reported while thinking of them. The findings add specificity to the three-phase model of revenge (Yoshimura & Boon, 2018), and reveal areas of potential growth in research on revenge, in general, and revenge fantasies specifically.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-440
Number of pages26
JournalImagination, Cognition and Personality
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • evolutionary psychology
  • narcissism
  • revenge
  • revenge fantasies
  • vengeance


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