From affect to action: How pleasure shapes everyday decisions in Japan and the U.S.
How do affective considerations shape people’s everyday decisions around the world? To address this question, we asked 245 Japanese and 229 American adults to report what they did and how they felt on the previous day using the Day Reconstruction Method. We then examined how affective valence at a given time (time t) related to the types of activities people engaged in at a later time (time t + 1). While we found some cultural variation in the types of daily activities Japanese and American participants experienced as pleasant or unpleasant, time-lagged multilevel logistic regressions revealed that both groups displayed a remarkably similar propensity to engage in pleasure-enhancing activities when they felt bad and in less-pleasant activities that might promise longer-term payoff when they felt good. These results provide cross-cultural support for the hedonic flexibility principle of human motivation, according to which affective states help people prioritize between short- and longer-term well-being goals in their everyday life.
KeywordsHedonism Emotion Motivation Decision making Cultural differences
The study was funded by Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad, Gobierno de España (Grant No. RYC-2016-21020).
Compliance with ethical standards
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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