Pleasure: Why do we overload?

While enjoyment is a key element of a happy and healthy daily life, there are many times when we spontaneously… overdo it. But have you ever wondered where this behavior comes from?

While some may automatically think of discipline or the absence of boundaries, scientists suggest something quite different.

For example, if you are busy with other things at the same time or are distracted while eating dinner, then you are more likely to want to have fun later, perhaps because the distraction has “taken away” some of the fun. offers a new research Published by the American Psychological Association.

As part of the study, the researchers looked at how distraction can affect “hedonic consumption,” or buying and using goods and experiences because they make us feel good and not because we need them.

Why do we become overly passionate?

“We can pump any day joy or enjoying particular activities, we observe that people often consume more hedonic goods than they really want or think is appropriate,” said lead author Stephen Lee Murphy of Ghent University.

One reason for this overconsumption may be distraction, he says.

When people are distracted while engaging in a hedonic activity, findings suggest they enjoy it less. This can lead to feelings of dissatisfaction and ultimately “overconsumption” to compensate for this deficit.

To better understand the role of distraction in overeating, researchers first conducted an experiment in which 122 participants (mostly women between the ages of 18 and 24) reported how long they waited to enjoy their lunch.

They were then asked to eat their lunch under one of three conditions: no distraction, moderate distraction (watching video) and high distraction (playing mobile games).

After the meal, participants reported enjoyment, satisfaction, desire for more satisfaction, and amount consumed. They also reported their afternoon snack.

Participants who ate while distracted reported less enjoyment and satisfaction, which was associated with an increased number of snacks throughout the day and a more general desire for more satisfaction.

It’s not just about food

The researchers believe that this “response,” which they call “hedonic compensation,” likely occurs in other aspects of daily life besides eating.

For example, people who are distracted while watching a movie or playing a game may be more likely to engage in additional consumption (such as surfing social media) to compensate for their enjoyment of the original activity.

The researchers also followed 220 participants aged 18 to 71 (again mostly women) for a week to investigate this effect more broadly.

Participants filled out seven short questionnaires via their smartphone about binge eating, distraction, and satisfaction.

As in the diet experiment, the researchers found that when participants did not focus on the questionnaire they were answering, they were less satisfied and felt a greater need for satisfaction.

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