Chapter 8

Hedonism and Sensory Stimulation

    1. Biological history (innate responses to stimuli controlled by genetics)
    2. Personal History (Acquired incentive motivation- classical conditioning.)

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                         (I = inhibitory neuron; P = projection neuron)

Small fibers (nociceptors) transmit pain information from the spinal cord to the brain. The large fibers transmit touch information (non nociceptors).  If the large fibers are more active than the small fibers then they  reduce or block nocicepetion (they close the "gate" for pain transmission).   The opening and closing of the "gate" can also be influenced by higher brain processes controling cognition (attention; expectations), emotion (fear;  stress-induced analgesia), and medical intervention (morphine, hypnosis, and acupuncture).


Masochism (deriving pleasure from being offended, mistreated, or physically hurt; seeking such mistreatment) appears to be inconsistent with the hedonic processes assumed to control motivated behavior. In some cases masochism can be explained as instances of discrimination learning: Positive reinforcement occurs primarily in the presence of an aversive stimulus. That is, people seek out aversive situations because the averive situation predicts the availability of positive reinforcement.

  1. Curiosity instinct/Curiosity drive (suffer from the nominal fallacy)
  2. Behaviorism (operant conditioning)- the behavioral activity described as exploratory behavior is genetically determined and is needed to provide behaviors that can be mechanistically reinforced by events in the environment (e.g., Hull’s drive reduction theory of reinforcement; Skinner’s principle of reinforcement)
  3. Berlyne’s Arousal theory – novelty and uncertainty increase arousal which in turn motivate behavior. Animals attempt to maintain optimal levels of arousal.
  4. Donald Hebb- moderate changes in arousal are reinforcing.
  5. Need for Stimulation