When someone has suffered at the hands of someone else, he or she might develop a tendency to take revenge, that is: “An attempt,
at some cost or risk to oneself, to impose suffering upon those who have made us suffer.” (Elster, 1990, p. 155). Traditionally,
most research on vengeance has focused on the act of revenge and not so much on the emotional state of desire for vengeance.
In this dissertation, I described a set of studies that further enhances our understanding of desire for vengeance and its
relation with actual revenge. I focused on three questions. First, what is desire for vengeance? Second, when and under which
circumstances does desire for vengeance lead to revenge? And third, why are people motivated to take revenge? The results
presented in this dissertation provided important insights in desire for vengeance and revenge. First, the experiential content
of desire for vengeance was revealed. Second, it was shown that revenge is more likely when salient others of the victim approve
revenge, or when the victim experiences strong feelings of anger as part of his or her desire for vengeance. And third, it
was shown that in severe situations individuals experience more satisfaction from personally getting back at the offender
than from observing vengeance by a third party. Whereas in moderate severe situations individuals experience equal amounts
of satisfaction after personal revenge and vengeance by a third party. Altogether, this dissertation increases our understanding
of desire for vengeance and its relation with actual revenge.