Hedonism and the Choice of Everyday Activities. Taquet, M.; Quoidbach, J.; de Montjoye, Y.; Desseilles, M.; and Gross, J. J. 113(35):9769–9773.
Hedonism and the Choice of Everyday Activities [link]Paper  doi  abstract   bibtex   
[Significance] Decisions we make every day about how to invest our time have crucial personal and societal consequences. Most theories of motivation propose that our daily choices of activities aim to maximize positive affective states but fail to explain when people decide to engage in unpleasant yet necessary activities. We tracked the activities and moods of over 28,000 people in real time and demonstrated that people seek mood-enhancing activities when they feel bad and unpleasant activities when they feel good. These findings clarify how emotions shape behavior and may explain how humans trade off short-term happiness for long-term welfare. Overcoming such trade-offs might be critical for our personal well-being and our survival as a species. [Abstract] Most theories of motivation have highlighted that human behavior is guided by the hedonic principle, according to which our choices of daily activities aim to minimize negative affect and maximize positive affect. However, it is not clear how to reconcile this idea with the fact that people routinely engage in unpleasant yet necessary activities. To address this issue, we monitored in real time the activities and moods of over 28,000 people across an average of 27 d using a multiplatform smartphone application. We found that people's choices of activities followed a hedonic flexibility principle. Specifically, people were more likely to engage in mood-increasing activities (e.g., play sports) when they felt bad, and to engage in useful but mood-decreasing activities (e.g., housework) when they felt good. These findings clarify how hedonic considerations shape human behavior. They may explain how humans overcome the allure of short-term gains in happiness to maximize long-term welfare.
@article{taquetHedonismChoiceEveryday2016,
  title = {Hedonism and the Choice of Everyday Activities},
  author = {Taquet, Maxime and Quoidbach, Jordi and de Montjoye, Yves-Alexandre and Desseilles, Martin and Gross, James J.},
  date = {2016-08},
  journaltitle = {Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences},
  volume = {113},
  pages = {9769--9773},
  issn = {1091-6490},
  doi = {10.1073/pnas.1519998113},
  url = {http://mfkp.org/INRMM/article/14114133},
  abstract = {[Significance]

Decisions we make every day about how to invest our time have crucial personal and societal consequences. Most theories of motivation propose that our daily choices of activities aim to maximize positive affective states but fail to explain when people decide to engage in unpleasant yet necessary activities. We tracked the activities and moods of over 28,000 people in real time and demonstrated that people seek mood-enhancing activities when they feel bad and unpleasant activities when they feel good. These findings clarify how emotions shape behavior and may explain how humans trade off short-term happiness for long-term welfare. Overcoming such trade-offs might be critical for our personal well-being and our survival as a species.

[Abstract]

Most theories of motivation have highlighted that human behavior is guided by the hedonic principle, according to which our choices of daily activities aim to minimize negative affect and maximize positive affect. However, it is not clear how to reconcile this idea with the fact that people routinely engage in unpleasant yet necessary activities. To address this issue, we monitored in real time the activities and moods of over 28,000 people across an average of 27 d using a multiplatform smartphone application. We found that people's choices of activities followed a hedonic flexibility principle. Specifically, people were more likely to engage in mood-increasing activities (e.g., play sports) when they felt bad, and to engage in useful but mood-decreasing activities (e.g., housework) when they felt good. These findings clarify how hedonic considerations shape human behavior. They may explain how humans overcome the allure of short-term gains in happiness to maximize long-term welfare.},
  keywords = {*imported-from-citeulike-INRMM,~INRMM-MiD:c-14114133,~to-add-doi-URL,cognitive-structure,human-behaviour,psychology,research-management,short-term-vs-long-term,sustainability},
  number = {35},
  options = {useprefix=true}
}
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