The portrait of a hedonist: The personality and ethics behind the value and maladaptive pursuit of pleasure

  • Ksendzova M
  • Iyer R
  • Hill G
 et al. 
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Hedonism is the prioritizing of pleasure over other life values and is theorized to be independent of well-being. However, popular culture depicts hedonists as unhappy, as well as selfishly unconcerned with others' well-being. Because the current literature has not differentiated between people's value of pleasure and their maladaptive pursuit of it, we examined if these related, but not equivalent, dispositions had different personality and morality profiles. We found that value-based hedonists have a distinct moral profile (i.e., they are less likely to endorse moral foundations associated with social conservatism) and, yet, they differ little from others in regard to personality traits. We also found that people's maladaptive hedonism (i.e., excessive pleasure-seeking) was best predicted by their personality traits (i.e., being less agreeable, less conscientious, and more neurotic) rather than by their conceptions of right and wrong. We discuss how these results contribute to our understanding of hedonism and why some people pursue their value of pleasure into over-indulgence.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Hedonism
  • Moral foundations
  • Personality
  • Values

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  • Masha Ksendzova

  • Ravi Iyer

  • Graham Hill

  • Sean P. Wojcik

  • Ryan T. Howell

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