Monday, August 8, 2016

Law of Hedonic Contrast

Hedonic motivation refers to the influence of a person's pleasure and pain receptors on their willingness to complete a goal or objective. Hedonic comes from the greek word meaning sweet or in this case pleasure. So the law of hedonic contrast is based off the principle that humans generally avoid pain and approach pleasure. When you think about that it seems almost too obvious because there are so few people out there that would purposely subject themselves to pain. When a child is learning how to walk they are motivated by their curiosity to seek out things beyond their stagnant reach. The law also states the pleasure a stimulus gives will be greater if it contrasts with sources of lesser pleasure so like the chart in our lecture slide shows that when a student is expecting a C but receives an A they experience more pleasure than the student who expected the A and received that grade. Personally, I can deeply relate to that particular example. There have been plenty of times throughout my schooling that I was sure I had gotten a perfect grade only to reach the huge disappointment of having gotten a B or even worse a C. However, I can also recall instances where I felt lousy about a test, I would beat myself up for not studying long enough, but then to my delight I'd somehow received an A. When you expect the worst but then receive a favorable outcome it feels so much better more like you are lucky to have experienced that. Considering all the shortcuts mentally and physically humans do it's no surprise that it's more rewarding when we feel like we didn't quite earn it. I say that because those times that I thought I got the C and really didn't I felt like I deserved the lesser grade because clearly if I had studied properly then I should feel more confident in my abilities. I want to apply this concept into my everyday life because I think it provides interesting perspective. I want to get to a place where I'm motivated enough to work for that A but be in a humble state of mind that I'd be content with a C; for example if I worked hard enough to become the supervisor at work but still feel fulfilled being a regular employee this way no matter what I maintain a full sense of self.


  1. Thus the world without criminals would be a place where people will die due to inaction, boredom and cruelty. Such an ideal world, indeed, would be the most inhuman and most undesirable to mankind.kurzfeld