How Does Envy Affect Us?

Interview Carol Barkes

Carol Barkes’ area of expertise is neuroscience-based conflict resolution, communication, and negotiation.  She has been featured on NBC, CBS, ABC, and FOX, in the Wall Street Journal and is the best selling author of Success Breakthroughs with Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup for the Soul Author). 

There are some cool things to share about envy:

1)  Envy vs. Jealousy – Envy is between two people and is about what another person has or is that you would like.  It could be an attribute like beauty or something substantive like wealth. Jealous is between three people and is more about losing something you have to another.

2)  Envy is a vital part of our evolutionary DNA – It is an adaptive response to limited resources shared by your group.  When we look at what others have, we notice what we could have that would increase our chances for survival.

3)  We have more envy for those in our social circle, geographical location or who are like us in attribute then we have of celebrities or outliers – We pay more attention to our own in groups, people of the same sex, social status, ability, looks, etc. then we do people like Bill Gates who see too war out of our realm to compare.  The people like “us” our existence that we can do what they do/did.

4)  We do not envy abstract things like happiness as much as we do social status, money, etc.   Our brains have a hard time visualizing the abstract.

5)  Envy is registered in the same part of our brain as is physical pain and can be treated with ibuprofen.  

6)  Our brains are social in nature.  It is what helped us survive despite not having incredible claws, razor sharp teeth, and thick fur.  We acted as a group to outwit the realities of nature so our brain has dedicated a significant amount to social interaction.  It is what has kept us at the top of the food chain.


Available for Interviews: Carol Barkes

Carol Barkes is a trend-setting mediator, business executive and educator specializing in the use of neuroscience to improve business performance, interpersonal communications, negotiation and conflict resolution processes for optimally successful results.


Jo Allison
Success In Media

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