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Re: Hedonic range?

Posted by KenB on October 23, 2000, at 0:08:56

In reply to Re: Hedonic range?, posted by shar on October 22, 2000, at 21:48:35

> Can there be one operational definition for all of them? Or will it vary with condition?

My perspective would be that one operational definition cannot describe the infinite variety of anhedonic experiences, but scholars will probably continue to strive for such a definition. To properly develop the suggestion of a hedonic range vs. a set-point would, as you suggest, Shar, require a literature review and would require careful explanation of what is meant by a "set point."

> Even within depression itself, there are great variations in the conditions. Will a theory hold up for all of them?

Theories about depression have become increasingly specific, and over the year have better defined how some subjective experiences relate to specific neurochemical levels and to blood-flow and other measures of activation throughout the brain. The theories are far from precise, to be sure.

For purposes of popular literature, many researchers suggest that we as individuals tend to have a set point. Sorry, I can't readily summarize the source material on those theories or offer a dissertation on the nuances of the theories.

If we reduced the measurement of hedonic status to a multi-question test where absolute bliss is 100 points, many researchers might agree that some people would consider themselves "normal" or "happy" with a score of 95, and others might feel the same with a score of 85. That would be the individualís hedonic set point.

That is somebody else's work, not mine. When possible, perhaps I can reference a better explanation of why many researchers are discussing a genetically determined hedonic set point.

As I appreciate the research, downward deviation from the individual's set-point, whether the individual's set-point is the hypothetical 95 or 85, can be described as anhedonia.

Assuming that a workable theory says some people feel mostly satisfied at 95 and others feel satisfied at 85, a more precise theory might be that some people might be comfortable at various times with scores ranging from 65 to 95, whereas others would tend to report debilitating symptoms if the score deviated only two or three points from their "set-point." That would be a individual hedonic range instead of an individual set-point.




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