Responses to success: Seeking pleasant experiences before a task is complete?
Although engaging in pleasant experiences following successful performance may be hedonically rewarding, in the present research we proposed that individuals might forego pleasant experiences when they have not yet completed a task. In Study 1 (N = 100), participants reported the extent to which they would like to engage in pleasant experiences in a hypothetical situation where their performance outcome on a task (successful vs. average) and task completion (task in progress vs. completed) were manipulated. In Study 2 (N = 115), participants were in a real situation in which they achieved either a successful or average performance outcome. Task completion was manipulated (task in progress vs. completed) and motivation to engage in a pleasant experience was assessed by a behavioral measure. Results of both studies provided support for our prediction by showing individuals to have a lower desire to engage in pleasant experiences following successful, but not average, performance when the task was in progress than when it was complete. These findings are discussed in light of the underlying mechanisms and consequences of the tendency to forego pleasant experiences.