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Leaving Pleasure: Positive Emotions and Goal-Directed Behavior

By M.J.S. Louro


In the psychology of consumption, with joy as well as pride, with delight as well as hope, it is critical to understand the role of positive emotions in shaping consumers' experiences, judgments and choices. A common assumption is that it is good to feel good, that consumers always choose the options that elicit more positive feelings, and that the ability to generate positive emotions is unvaryingly rewarded with favorable behaviors such as loyalty. This dissertation goes beyond the pleasure principle of human motivation and argues that, rather than uniformly pursuing pleasure or invariably reiterating the choices that have produced pleasure in the past, consumers do not always follow and sometimes even avoid positive emotions in the service of other consumption goals. People do not always return to the places they like or buy the products they love, no matter how strong their feelings. This dissertation explores how consumers adapt their emotional responses and their affect-laden behaviors to meet the motivational and situational demands of the task at hand. In attempting to understand the contingencies of emotional responding, affect is viewed as a highly versatile system that provides consumers with a rich repertoire of affective response options that can be flexibly employed. In this way, it shows that the path to good consumption decisions often entails leaving pleasure.

Publisher: CentER Dissertation Series
Year: 2005
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