Gratification

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Basketball player Kevin Durant, after receiving the gold medal at the 2010 FIBA World Championship

Gratification is the pleasurable emotional reaction of happiness in response to a fulfillment of a desire or goal.

Gratification, like all emotions, is a motivator of behavior and thus plays a role in the entire range of human social systems.

Instant and Delayed Gratification[edit]

The disparaging term instant gratification is often used to label the satisfactions gained by more impulsive behaviors: choosing now over tomorrow.[1] The skill of giving preference to long term goals over more immediate ones is known as deferred gratification or patience, and it is usually considered a virtue, producing rewards in the long-term.[2]

Walter Mischel developed the well-known marshmallow experiment to test gratification patterns in four-year-olds, offering one marshmallow now or two after a delay.[3] He discovered in long-term follow-up that the ability to resist eating the marshmallow immediately was a good predictor of success in later life.

Criticism[edit]

While we might say that those who lack the skill to delay are immature, an excess of this skill can create problems as well; i.e. an individual becomes inflexible, or unable to take pleasure in life (anhedonia) and seize opportunities for fear of adverse consequences.[4]

There are also circumstances, in an uncertain/negative environment, when seizing gratification is the rational approach,[5] as in wartime.[6]

Bipolar[edit]

Gratification becomes a major issue in manic-depression. One sign of the onset of depression is a spreading loss of the sense of gratification in such immediate things as friendship, jokes, conversation, food and sex.[7] Long-term gratifications seem even more meaningless.[8]

By contrast, the manic can find gratification in almost anything, even a leaf falling, for example.[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ R. F. Baumeister/B. J. Bushman, Social Psychology and Human Nature (2010) p. 49
  2. ^ Baumeister, p. 120
  3. ^ Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence (1996) p. 79-80
  4. ^ Eric Berne, Sex in Human Loving (1970) p. 151
  5. ^ Frank Munger, Labouring Below the Line (2007) p. 274
  6. ^ James Holland, The Battle of Britain (2010) p. 735-9
  7. ^ Aaron T. Beck/Brad A. Alford, Depression (2009) p. 19
  8. ^ Beck, p. 28
  9. ^ Beck, p. 96

External links[edit]