HEDONIC RAREFACTION ACCOMPANIES POSITIVE HEDONIC CONTRAST

  • Debra A. Zellner
  • Ke'Nesha Jones
  • Jennifer Morino
  • Scott Parker

Abstract

Subjects rated their liking for (Experiment 1) and their preferences between (Experiment 2) weakly hedonically positive test paintings. Some subjects first saw and rated some hedonically negative context paintings. Those subjects reported greater liking for (Experiment 1) and larger preferences between (Experiment 2) the test paintings than did subjects who saw and rated only the test paintings. Experiment 1 shows positive hedonic contrast. Interpreting preference as an index of hedonic difference, Experiment 2 shows that positive contrast is accompanied by expansion (rarefaction) of the hedonic spacing among stimuli. This is the reverse of what happens with negative hedonic contrast – shrinkage (condensation) of hedonic spacing.

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