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Handbook of ValuePerspectives from Economics, Neuroscience, Philosophy, Psychology and Sociology$
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Tobias Brosch and David Sander

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198716600

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198716600.001.0001

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What is value? Where does it come from? A psychological perspective

What is value? Where does it come from? A psychological perspective

Chapter:
(p.43) Chapter 3 What is value? Where does it come from? A psychological perspective
Source:
Handbook of Value
Author(s):

E. Tory Higgins

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198716600.003.0003

Value is the experience of a force of attraction toward something or repulsion from something. This experience includes the hedonic experiences of approaching pleasure and avoiding pain, but the hedonic viewpoint alone is insufficient for three major reasons. First, what people find attractive or repulsive is not restricted to experiences of pleasure and pain. Indeed, they will take on pain for the sake of establishing what’s real (truth) and managing what happens (control). Second, the hedonic viewpoint is silent on the critical difference between the promotion focus concern with gain/non-gain (growth and advancement) versus the prevention focus concern with non-loss/loss (safety and security). Third, and perhaps most important, the hedonic viewpoint provides a very limited understanding of where value comes from. It fails to appreciate the importance for value of the fit or non-fit between different ways of being effective that makes people “feel right” (or “feel wrong”) about what they are doing. It also ignores the contribution of engagement strength to the intensity of positive and negative value. Because of engagement strength, a person can currently feel good or bad and yet the value of something else can be intensified in the opposite direction of how they feel.

Keywords:   hedonism, approach, avoidance, promotion, prevention, engagement, truth, control

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