Why do people sacrifice short-term happiness for long-term welfare?

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by Plazma Inferno!, Aug 18, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

    According to the hedonic principle, people are motivated by the pursuit of pleasure and, conversely, the avoidance of pain. Although there is a great deal of evidence to support this theory of motivation, both from psychological studies and everyday life, the theory does not explain why people often engage in activities that are unpleasant yet critical for their long-term welfare.
    In other words, why do most people spend so much time working and doing housework when they could be engaging in leisure activities? And, perhaps more importantly, why do other people struggle to maintain steady employment and clean living conditions? The answers have a profound impact on the mental and physical health of individuals, as well as our survival as a species.
    An interdisciplinary team of data scientists, physicians, and psychologists from the US, the UK, Belgium, and Spain, has gathered large amounts of data to help explain how humans sacrifice short-term happiness to maximize long-term welfare. By monitoring the moods and activities of 30,000 people for about a month using a smartphone application, the researchers discovered that a person's mood has a significant impact on what kinds of activities they decide to do.
    Specifically, the data showed that when a person is in a good mood, they are more likely to do housework and other unpleasant yet useful activities over the next few hours than when they are in a bad mood. When feeling bad, people tend to choose activities later that day that are more pleasurable, such as playing sports and spending time with friends, apparently in an effort to feel better.
    The researchers explain that the results are interesting because they show that people do not always seek pleasure-enhancing activities, only at times when they're in a bad mood. This finding supports the "hedonic flexibility hypothesis" first proposed by Herbert Simon in the 1960s, which suggests that people have multiple goals, some short-term and some long-term, and a person's mood helps them prioritize among these goals in the same way that the current study has found. People who are in a bad mood tend to focus on improving their mood at that moment, whereas people in a good mood tend to think more about the future.


    Paper: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2016/08/10/1519998113.abstract
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  3. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    It is called being able to envision the future.
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.

Share This Page