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Affective Determinants of Health Behavior$
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David M. Williams, Ryan E. Rhodes, and Mark T. Conner

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190499037

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190499037.001.0001

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Psychological Hedonism, Hedonic Motivation, and Health Behavior

Psychological Hedonism, Hedonic Motivation, and Health Behavior

(p.204) 10 Psychological Hedonism, Hedonic Motivation, and Health Behavior
Affective Determinants of Health Behavior

David M. Williams

Oxford University Press

Why is it so hard to choose the fruit salad instead of the chocolate cake? Why do we dread our daily workout? And why do some of us find it so difficult to quit smoking, quit drinking too much, or stop using drugs? This chapter argues that these unhealthy behaviors are largely a function of hedonic motivation: an automatically triggered motivational state that manifests in a felt desire to perform behaviors that have previously brought immediate pleasure, or dread of performing behaviors that have previously brought immediate displeasure. The concept of hedonic motivation is based on recent developments in the fields of affective neuroscience (i.e., incentive salience theory) and psychology (i.e., dual-processing theory) and is positioned herein as the central mechanism of the ancient and intuitive theory of psychological hedonism. Greater attention to hedonic motivation is critical for understanding behaviors that account for a significant proportion of worldwide death and disease.

Keywords:   hedonic motivation, reflective motivation, pleasure, displeasure, desire, dread, affective valence, incentive salience, dual processing

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