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Darwinian Hedonism and the Epidemic of Unhealthy Behavior

$100.00 USD

  • Date Published: March 2019
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781108636667

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About the Authors
  • Psychological hedonism - the idea that people tend to act in ways that maximize pleasure and minimize displeasure - has a decidedly poor reputation among academics who study human behavior. Opinions range from outright rejection to those who believe it to be intuitively obvious, but untestable and therefore unhelpful. In this book, the author introduces an empirically testable and useful theory of psychological hedonism based on contemporary theory and research in the emerging field of affective neuroscience. He goes on to argue that people are genetically endowed with a tendency towards psychological hedonism as a function of Darwinian processes. This view of psychological hedonism in light of its Darwinian origins - thereinafter referred to as Darwinian hedonism - is essential to address the growing global epidemic of unhealthy behavior, such as poor diet, physical inactivity, and substance use.

    • Proposes a new theory of human behavior
    • Reframes the ancient and intuitive principle of psychological hedonism
    • Based on contemporary affective neuroscience and neo-Darwinian evolutionary biology
    • Can be applied to the global epidemic of unhealthy behavior, which is argued to be the main driver for the rising rates of chronic disease
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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2019
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781108636667
    • contains: 18 b/w illus.
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    Part I. Unhealthy behavior:
    2. The epidemic of unhealthy behavior
    3. Understanding the causes of behavior
    4. A causal chain of behavior
    5. Contents of the mind
    6. What are the causes of unhealthy behavior?
    Part II. Psychological Hedonism:
    7. Psychological hedonism and its problems
    8. Reformulating psychological hedonism
    9. Pleasure, displeasure, and affective valence
    10. Hedonic response
    11. Sources of hedonic response
    12. Reward, incentive salience, and hedonic motivation
    13. Incentive conditioning: from hedonic response to hedonic motivation
    14. Hedonic versus reflective motivation
    15. From hedonic motivation to unhealthy behavior
    16. The theory of hedonic motivation
    Part III. Darwinian Hedonism:
    17. Darwinian hedonism
    18. Neo-Darwinism
    19. The evolutionary function of psychological hedonism
    20. The phylogenetic development of psychological hedonism
    Part IV. Darwinian Hedonism and Unhealthy Behavior:
    21. Motivational mismatch
    22. Darwinian hedonism and unhealthy behavior
    23. Darwinian hedonism and hedonic desire for calorie-dense foods
    24. Darwinian hedonism and hedonic dread of physical activity
    25. Darwinian hedonism and hedonic desire for smoking, drinking, and drug use
    26. Health behavior interventions
    27. Darwinian hedonism and health-behavior policy
    28. Darwinian hedonism and political will
    29. Conclusions and future directions
    Appendix A: hedonic motivation and other motivation concepts
    Appendix B: anticipating criticisms of Darwinian hedonism.

  • Author

    David M. Williams, Brown University, Rhode Island
    David M. Williams is Associate Professor in the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences at the Brown University School of Public Health in Providence, Rhode Island.

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