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Do many small pleasures beat fewer larger ones?

 

From another great research review by Psyblog:

Here’s a perplexing study. Nelson & Meyvis (2008) had participants massaged for 3 minutes. However one group had a 20 second break in the middle while the others had a continuous massage. Who enjoyed it more?

People predicted it would be the continuous massage, but they were wrong. People enjoyed the massage with the break more because the break stopped them becoming acclimatised to the massage.

The enemy of happiness is adaptation. Unfortunately we get used to things and they give us less pleasure; after a while we start taking them for granted. It’s sad but true.

But if you keep doing lots of small, different pleasurable things, you’ll get more pleasure overall and you’ll feel happier. This is partly why many small pleasures beat fewer larger ones.

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About Eric Barker