Margaret Thatcher's death on Monday brought not only mourning but schadenfreude as cultural critics held gleeful "death parties" and downloads of the Wizard of Oz's "Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead" track topped the charts.

The former prime minister of the United Kingdom, who served from 1979 to 1990, left a conservative legacy similar - but of course different - to the way American conservatives feel about the their president from that era, Ronald Reagan.

In London, Bristol and Glasgow celebrators glorified in her passing, with several police officers injured in violence in Bristol and police responding to revelers in the south London neighborhood of Brixton, several of whom had climbed a movie theater façade to post a sign reading in English-Internet patois, "Margaret Thatchers dead LOL."

Online, a Facebook campaign propelled the Wizard of Oz song to 9th on the iTunes best-seller chart and to second on Amazon's singles download chart, with numbers expected to rise in the coming days. A senior member of Britain's Labour party decried the celebrations, saying, "Ed Miliband categorically condemns any celebration of Lady Thatcher's death; as he made clear yesterday she was a huge figure in British politics and on the world stage."

Likewise, former three-term prime minister Tony Blair told the BBC, ""I think that's pretty poor taste. You've got to, even if you disagree with someone very strongly - particularly at the moment of their passing - show some respect."

Though the word "schadenfreude" reverberates throughout the world, the German originators may be the only to use it in the form of an adjective. It's an impulse, however, that predates modern European culture and language with origins in the more ancient human brain, researchers say.

Investigators have conducted a number of studies of schadenfreude during the past 20 years based on social comparison theory, the process by which the brain overrides empathetic impulses to experience enjoyment in the suffering, or loss, of another-here seen as the death of an old woman. Likewise, people around the world rejoiced at the death of Osama bin Laden, the late head of militant group Al Qaeda, who was shot to death by U.S. forces nearly two years ago.

In a study published in Science in 2009, researchers first identified a neuronal basis for the emotion of "envy," which they then used in the hunt for "schadenfreude." Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, they saw increased activity in the anterior cingulate cortex associated with feelings of envy in study subjects. Later, in a second study, the researchers used that information to identify the more sadistic and related emotion by relating stories of downfall associated with the original envy.

However, another study conducted by MIT last year, with funding from the U.S. Air Force, found primarily the need for future studies, with better designs. Researchers examined the neurological basis of schadenfreude by studying people from Israel, the Palestinian Occupied Territories and South America. Using the Israeli-Arab conflict as a real-world example of the human bifurcating others of his species into "us" and "them," researchers conducted experiments using functional magnetic resonance imaging and other tools.

As suspected, they found a "clear and robust difference" between how Israelis and Arabs - embroiled in conflict - felt about each other, versus how both groups felt about the far more distant out-group, South Americans. But although stories relating the emotional suffering of others activated all parts of the brain upon which researchers focused, they failed to pinpoint a neurological basis for schadenfreude.

Upon positively identifying all in the brain correlated with such emotions, researchers say the applications would lend themselves not only to neuromarketers but to promote no less than... peace on earth.