Measuring preference for supernormal over natural rewards: a two-dimensional anticipatory pleasure scale

Goodwin, B. C. and Browne, M. and Rockloff, M. (2015) Measuring preference for supernormal over natural rewards: a two-dimensional anticipatory pleasure scale. Evolutionary Psychology, 13 (4).

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Supernormal stimuli are artificial products that activate reward pathways and approach behavior more so than naturally occurring stimuli for which these systems were intended. Many modern consumer products (e.g., snack foods, alcohol, pornography) appear to incorporate supernormal features, leading to excessive consumption, in preference to naturally-occurring alternatives. No measure currently exists for the self-report assessment of individual differences or changes in susceptibility to such stimuli. Therefore, an anticipatory pleasure scale was modified to include items that represented both supernormal and natural classes of rewarding stimuli. Exploratory factor analysis yielded a two-factor solution, and as predicted, natural (N) and supernormal (SN) items reliably loaded on separate dimensions. Internal reliability for the two scales was high, ρ =.93, ρ =.90, respectively. The two-dimensional measure was evaluated via regression using the N and SN scale means as predictors and self-reports of daily consumption of 21 products with supernormal features as outcomes. As expected, supernormal pleasure ratings were related to higher supernormal product consumption; whilst natural pleasure ratings had either negative or neutral associations to consumption of these products. We conclude that the resulting two-dimensional measure is a potentially reliable and valid self-report measure of differential preference for supernormal stimuli. Whilst further evaluation is needed (e.g. using experimental measures), the proposed scale may play a useful role in the study of both trait- and state-based variation in human susceptibility to supernormal stimuli.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published version made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported license.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Institute for Resilient Regions
Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2016 04:39
Last Modified: 04 Jan 2017 03:37
Uncontrolled Keywords: anticipatory pleasure scale, supernormal stimuli, natural stimuli, reward
Fields of Research : 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170109 Personality, Abilities and Assessment
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1799 Other Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 179999 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences not elsewhere classified
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170101 Biological Psychology (Neuropsychology, Psychopharmacology, Physiological Psychology)
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 92 Health > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920401 Behaviour and Health
E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1177/1474704915613914

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