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Michel Cabanac de Lafregeyre
added a research item
maximization of sensory pleasure optimizes behavior, in terms of maintaining physiological integrity and anticipating future need. Such a mechanism Pleasure aroused from sensory inputs allows one to select the optimal stimuli from a range of environmental conditions and the best compromise in the event that motivations enter into conflict with each other. Pleasure is an ancient mechanism that emerged with the early reptile ancestors to present- day reptiles, birds, and mammals. The remaining of pleasure by natural selection through evolution is another indirect indication of its benefi cial function.
Michel Cabanac de Lafregeyre
added a research item
At present as physiologists studying various homeostatic behaviors, such as thermoregulatory behavior and food and fluid intake, we have no common currency that allows us to equate the strength of the motivational drive that accompanies each regulatory need, in terms of how an animal or a person will choose to satisfy his needs when there is a conflict between two or more of them. Yet the behaving organism must rank his priorities and needs a common currency to achieve the ranking (McFarland & Sibly, 1975, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. 270 Biol 265-293). A theory is proposed here according to which pleasure is this common currency. The perception of pleasure, as measured operationally and quantitatively by choice behavior (in the case of animals), or by the rating of the intensity of pleasure or displeasure (in the case of humans) can serve as such a common currency. The tradeoffs between various motivations would thus be accomplished by simple maximization of pleasure. In what follows, the scientific work arising recently on this subject, with be reviewed briefly and our recent experimental findings will be presented. This will serve as the support for the theoretical position formulated in this essay.
Michel Cabanac de Lafregeyre
added 5 research items
Rats were trained to feed each day from 10 o'clock to 12 noon. Once a week in an environment of Ta--15 degrees C, additional food was made available 16 m from a thermoneutral refuge. The additional food offered was either shortcake, meat pâté, peanut butter, Coca-cola, all of these (cafeteria), or laboratory chow. Although laboratory chow was also always available in their thermoneutral home, rats invariably ran in the cold to the feeder, especially so when the food offered was highly palatable. With such foods, animals took as much as half their nutrient intake in the cold. For less palatable food, rats went only once or twice to the feeder, and there ate little. The attractiveness of the various foods was ranked similarly by the amount eaten, the number of excursions to the feeder, and the time spent feeding in the cold. Meal duration and speed of running to the food were not influenced by palatability. For the whole group, the preference was: shortcake, Coca-cola, meat pâté, peanut butter, and chow. There was a considerable variation between rats in their attraction to different foods. Feeding behavior in a situation of conflict could be used to measure palatability.
Six male human subjects were placed in a situation of physiological conflict, fatigue vs. cold discomfort. Dressed in swim suits and shoes they walked at 3 km X h-1 on a treadmill placed in a climatic chamber. The slope of the treadmill was varied from 0 to 24% and the ambient temperature (Ta) from 25 to 5 degrees C. The subjects could choose Ta when slope was imposed or the converse. They rated pleasure and displeasure of Ta and exercise. Deep body temperature and heart rate were monitored. The results show that the subjects adjusted their behavior to maintain approximatively steady deep body temperature and to limit heart rate below 120 beats X min-1. The physiological compromise was thus correlated to the drive for maximal pleasure-minimal displeasure in the two sensory dimensions fatigue and discomfort.
1.1. Skin and deep-body temperatures were recorded in lizards, rats and humans exposing themselves to a cold environment for the sake of obtaining food or money.2.2. The bheaviour of the lizards was directed towards the upkeep of their corr temperature rather than their skin temperature (Tsk).3.3. Rats maintained their Tsk above 15°C when ambient temperature (Ta) was not drastically cold. At very low Ta they let Tsk drop near 0°C but they maintained their deep-body temperature. When the latter was threatened, they returned to their warm refuge.4.4. Humans followed the same bhevioural strategy as rats. For low rates of rewards they left the cold environment when Tsk dropped. For high rates of reward they let Tsk reach pain threshold but left the cold environment when deep-body temperature started to decrease.5.5. The comparison of various species suggests that Tsk may be tactically protected by behaviour but the strategic aim is the upkeep of deep-body temperature.
Michel Cabanac de Lafregeyre
added 5 research items
Tested the hypothesis that pleasure signals efficacious mental activity. In Exp 1, 10 male Ss (aged 10–62 yrs) played video-golf on a computer. After each hole Ss rated their pleasure or displeasure on a magnitude estimation scale. Ss' ratings of pleasure correlated negatively with the difference par minus performance, i. e., the better the performance the greater the pleasure reported. In Exps 2 and 3, the pleasure of reading poems was correlated with comprehension and both rated by 2 groups of 12 science and arts graduate students. In the majority of science students pleasure was significantly correlated with comprehension. Only one arts student showed this relationship; this result suggests that the proposed relationship between pleasure and cognitive efficiency is not tautological. Results support the hypothesis that pleasure is aroused by the same mechanisms, and follows the same laws, in physiological and cognitive mental tasks and also leads to the optimization of performance. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
This study measured the affective experience of 12 subjects reading grammatically correct and incorrect versions of 50 sentences, Questionnaire I, in their second language (French). This was followed by a multiple choice grammar test, Questionnaire II, using the same 50 sentences and offering the correct and incorrect answers. Subjects tended to choose correct as well as incorrect responses corresponding to their highest affective rating within each entry. In all cases the subjects' behavior was higher than chance level and thus followed a trend to maximize pleasure. This result supports the hypothesis according to which the key to decision-making lies in the affective dimension of conscious experience.
This little book describes a research on pleasure, taking place over the last thirty years. The pleasure under study was not a specific pleasure, such as sexual pleasure or the pleasure of playing a game, but was rather pleasure in general as a motivation of our behavior. When the time to find a title came, I first thought of Ergo in order to underline the process taking place in mind when, examining the premises of a problem, the researcher is driven to an irresistible conclusion. Then I thought of The Obsession of Pleasure, to indicate the omnipresent fixation on the problem under study, until the liberating 'Eureka'! But the researcher's "unsatiable curiosity", like that of the Elephant child, is neither contemplative nor sad. In the experimental sciences the passage à l'acte is the poursuit of successive answers to never ending series of questions. This dynamic and joyous process is evoqued by the present and final title, The Quest for Pleasure.
Michel Cabanac de Lafregeyre
added 5 research items
We investigated the pleasurability of aggressive behavioral decisions. Four questionnaires (on hedonicity, decisión making, justification of aggression, and impulsiveness) were given to 50 participants of both sexes, ranging from 16 to 80 years old. Most participants avoided unpleasant behaviors as part of a trend to maximize pleasure and to minimize displeasure. Mean hedonicity ratings followed a bell curve with increasing levels of aggressiveness (p < .0001). Thus, the participants chose neither passive nor highly aggressive responses to social conflicts, with both extremes receiving the most unpleasant ratings. The results offer empirical support for an interesting point: People may derive pleasure from aggression as long as it is exhibited on a low to medium level. More precisely, people associate pleasure with aggression up to a certain point: Aggressive responses of medium intensity were rated significantly less unpleasant than the most passive and most aggressive ones, which were associated with less pleasure. Conclusion: In social conflicts, behavior tends to maximize experienced pleasure; and impulsive aggression produces pleasure in the aggressor, except at extreme intensities. The point that mild to moderate aggression brings pleasure, whereas extreme or severe aggression does not, provides a perspective that may reconcile conflicting observations in the literature.
La maximización del placer (hedonismo) es un mecanismo importante en la toma de decisiones humanas, tal y como se ha demostrado tanto para el placer sensitivo como para el placer puramente mental. Esta ligazón también se ha demostrado en situaciones sociales relacionadas con la agresión interpersonal y que los seres humanos tienden a tomar decisiones más agresivas en función del placer resultante. El objetivo de este estudio fue comprobar si esta tendencia se observa también en reclusos. Los resultados son similares a los observados en sujetos “normales” si bien el grado de hedonismo es más alto en los reclusos. No se encontraron diferencias de edad ni sexo. Concluimos que cuanto más agresiva es la conducta más placentera es para el agresor, con la excepción de los niveles más elevados de agresividad. Esta tendencia se observa tanto en sujetos “normales” como en reclusos, aunque es más fuerte en estos últimos.[ABSTRACT]Maximization of pleasure (hedonicity) is a major mechanism in human decision-making, as previous research on both hoth sensory pleasure and purely mental pleasure. In addiction, it has also documented that pleasure is a major factor in decision-making in social situations related to interpersonal aggression, and that people tend to make aggressive behavioural decisions as a function of the resulting pleasure. The present study tried to verify whether this trend was also found in inmates. The results were similar to the ones previously observed in ‘normal’ subjects, even though the degree of hedonicity was higher in the prisoners. No sex nor age differences were found. We conclude that increasingly aggressive behavior is increasingly pleasurable to the aggressor, whith the exception of the highest levels of aggression. This trend is found in both ‘normal’ and inmate populations, even if it seems to be stronger in prisoners.
As obesity becomes increasingly prevalent, many people are trying to control their body weight through dieting, with mitigated results. We analyzed the impact of weight loss on food choice by recording the grocery basket composition of 100 participants, using their grocery receipts. Participants also anonymously completed a questionnaire about age, sex, diet, recent body weight change, reasons for recent body weight changes, and perceived difficulties in losing weight. Participants who had deliberately lost weight chose more dairy products, meat, and sweets and fewer fruits and vegetables than did controls. Passive weight-losers were similar to controls in their food choices. Active weight-losers show a stronger desire for high-caloric intake, probably because of a behavioral mechanism that seeks to maintain their original body weight set-point.
Michel Cabanac de Lafregeyre
added 3 research items
Three healthy young adult males were placed on a treadmill at 5 X 5 combination of speed and slope. They were instructed that the session would end when they had climbed 300 m. The results showed that the subjects' operant choices resulted in a quasi-constant duration of sessions, i.e., they tended to walk at constant power. Such a choice could be predicted from the sum of ratings for displeasure in the chest plus displeasure in the lower limbs. It is therefore likely that this bidimensional perception was the cue for working at constant power.
The pleasure of eating palatable food was pitted against the displeasure of giving money away in a situation where subjects had to spend money to buy their food. Ten healthy subjects taken individually had lunch in the laboratory on four different days. During the first session, they rated the palatability of small sandwiches, of ten different varieties. In the three following sessions, they were asked to eat the same number of sandwiches as in the first session and they had to buy each sandwich at a price that increased with palatability. The rate of the price increase was varied in the three sessions. As this rate increased, the subjects moved their preference to the less palatable sandwiches. The subjects' actual behavior was predictable from the quantitative relationship of pleasure ratings and price. This result supports the hypothesis according to which behavior tends to maximize multidimensional pleasure experience.
Michel Cabanac de Lafregeyre
added 13 research items
Violence and aggressiveness are social concerns. Also, at a time of rising prevalence of obesity, many people tend to control their body weight through dieting. We analyzed the impact of weight loss on aggressiveness: 150 participants completed anonymously two questionnaires assessing their aggressiveness, age, sex, diet, recent body weight change, reasons of recent body weight changes, and perceived difficulties related to those changes. Results showed that participants who had deliberately lost weight reported higher aggressiveness than controls, but passive weight-losers did not. The raised aggressiveness was stronger for hostile aggression than for instrumental aggression. Such a rise is likely to be due to the discomfort associated with opposing body weight set-point.
The hedonic dimension of consciousness is what renders decisions simple. To minimize displeasure and to maximizepleasure is both the result and the aim of behavior. Thus, pleasure dialectics is a dynamic phenomenon that serves to optimize behavior.
This article is a theoretical consideration on the role of sensory pleasure and mental joy as optimizers of behavior. It ends with an axiomatic proposal. When they compare the human body to its environment, Philosophers recognise the cosmos as the Large Infinite, and the atomic particles as the Small Infinite. The human brain reaches such a degree of complexity that it may be considered as a third infinite in the universe, a Complex Infinite. It follows that any force capable of moving such an infinite deserves a place among the forces of the universe. Physicists have recognized four forces, the gravitational, the electromagnetic, the weak, and the strong nuclear force. Forces are defined in four dimentions (reversible or not in time) and it is postulated that these forces are valid and applicable everywhere. Pleasure and displeasure, the affective axis of consciousness, can move the infinitely complex into action and no human brain can avoid the trend to maximize its pleasure. Therefore, we suggest, axiomatically, that the affective capability of consciousness operates in a way similar to the four forces of the Physics, i.e. influences the behavior of conscious agents in a way similar to the way the four forces influence masses and particles. However, since a mental phenomenon is dimensioneless we propose to call the affective capability of consciousness the fifth influence rather than the fifth force.
Michel Cabanac de Lafregeyre
added a research item
A matrix of 25 gustatory stimuli combined five sucrose concentrations (0.15 to 2.35 mole/l) with five temperatures (10 to 50 degrees C) or sournesses (pH 1.8 to 5.7). On four different days at the same time of day ten healthy young men served as subjects. Sweet pleasure/displeasure vs. temperature pleasure/displeasure was studied in four subjects and sweet pleasure/displeasure vs. sourness pleasure/displeasure in six subjects. Throughout the first session the 25 stimuli were presented for 5 s each and the subject gave a magnitude estimate of his pleasure or displeasure in response to one dimension of the matrix (e.g. sweetness) regardless of the other. Similarly, throughout the second session, the same stimuli were presented and the subject rated his pleasure or displeasure in response to the second dimension of the matrix (e.g. sourness or temperature) regardless of the first. For the third session however, the subject himself was invited to mix samples, this to allow a behavioural choice in one dimension of the matrix the other being imposed (e.g. he could mix sucrose and water ad libitum for five imposed temperatures). For the last session the subject could adjust the previously imposed dimension, the other previously adjustable dimension being now imposed (e.g. he could modify temperature for five imposed sucrose concentrations). The results of the first two sessions showed that pleasure/displeasure resulted from a two-dimensional combination of the taste modalities offered. The results of the last two sessions showed that the subjects tended to maximize their sensory pleasure. The operant choices coincided with the ratings obtained in the first two sessions. Whether a dimension of the matrix was imposed or operantly adjustable made no difference on the results; the subjects tended to maximize sensory pleasure in the imposed dimension as well as in the adjustable dimension. The subjects therefore maximized their pleasure in the two-dimensional space offered.
Michel Cabanac de Lafregeyre
added 3 research items
We discuss the hypothesis that acquisition of knowledge is a deeply rooted psychological need. But so is the desire for fast decisions and for minimizing cognitive efforts. There is a controversy between maximizing knowledge rationally for decision making or using Tversky and Kahneman heuristic mechanisms. Here we explore a basic aspect of learning, does it bring pleasure? We report experimental results showing that acquisition of knowledge is hedonically pleasing. Thus, the satisfaction of curiosity through acquiring knowledge brings pleasure and could improve decision making. Such a mechanism would confirm the hypothesis that curiosity is a fundamental and ancient motivation.
We investigated the relative weighting of rationality and pleasure in decisions by individuals from all three branches of government. Judges, government executives, and members of parliament rated their pleasure/displeasure after reading item-sentences describing political and social problems followed by different decisions (Questionnaire One). Questionnaire Two was a multiple-choice, grouping of items from Questionnaire One. All three participant groups maximized pleasure equally in their decision making.
Michel Cabanac de Lafregeyre
added 3 research items
Cognitive dissonance is the stress that comes from holding two conflicting thoughts simultaneously in the mind, usually arising when people are asked to choose between two detrimental or two beneficial options. In view of the well-established role of emotions in decision making, here we investigate whether the conventional structural models used to represent the relationships among basic emotions, such as the Circumplex model of affect, can describe the emotions of cognitive dissonance as well. We presented a questionnaire to 34 anonymous participants, where each question described a decision to be made among two conflicting motivations and asked the participants to rate analogically the pleasurableness and the intensity of the experienced emotion. The participants’ answers were then analyzed using multidimensional scaling and hierarchical clustering. We find that the results were compatible with the predictions of the Circumplex model for basic emotions.
Cognitive dissonance, CD, leads to discarding of contradictory knowledge. The presentation discusses that all knowledge is contradictory and according to CD theory should have been discarded in evolution before its usefulness would have been established. Therefore a powerful ability should have emerged along with language and diverse knowledge to overcome this aspect of CD. We present experimental evidence that music has this ability. Then we discuss why music might have this ability.