, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 1409-1430

Subjective Well-Being and Hedonic Editing: How Happy People Maximize Joint Outcomes of Loss and Gain

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Abstract

Hedonic editing refers to the decision strategy of arranging multiple events in time to maximize hedonic outcomes (Thaler in Market Sci 4:199–214, 1985). The present research investigated the relationship between subjective well-being and hedonic editing. In Study 1, we gave participants pairs of social or financial events and asked them to indicate their preferences regarding the sequence and interval length between the two events. Compared to participants with lower subjective well-being, those with higher subjective well-being preferred to experience a social gain (e.g., chatting with a close friend) temporally closer to a financial loss, suggesting that happy individuals are more inclined than less happy individuals to use positive social events as cross-domain buffers against loss. In Study 2, participants were asked to select the type of positive event they would want to experience after a negative event. Happy individuals displayed a stronger preference for social events. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.