Pleasure is a broad class of mental states that humans and other animals experience as positive, enjoyable, or worth seeking. It includes more specific mental states such as happiness, entertainment, enjoyment, ecstasy, and euphoria. The early psychological account of pleasure, the pleasure principle, describes it as a positive feedback mechanism, motivating the organism to recreate in how to pleasure a woman pdf future the situation which it has just found pleasurable and to avoid situations that have caused pain in the past.
The experience of pleasure is subjective and different individuals will experience different kinds and amounts of pleasure in the same situation. Many pleasurable experiences are associated with satisfying basic biological drives, such as eating, exercise, hygiene, and sex. The appreciation of cultural artifacts and activities such as art, music, dancing, and literature is often pleasurable.
While all pleasurable stimuli are rewards, some rewards do not evoke pleasure. Pleasure centers or “hedonic hotspots” are a set of brain structures within the reward system that are directly responsible for mediating the “liking” or pleasure component of an intrinsic reward, as opposed to brain structures that activate in correlation with or as a consequence of the perception of pleasure. Various compartments within the nucleus accumbens, ventral pallidum, and parabrachial nucleus have been identified as pleasure centers which respond to a variety of pleasurable stimuli.
The orbitofrontal cortex and insular cortex likely contain hedonic hotspots as well. The anterior cingulate cortex, ventral tegmental area, and amygdala have also been observed to activate in functional neuroimaging studies in response to pleasurable stimuli, but these structures do not necessarily contain hedonic hotspots. The simultaneous activation of every hedonic hotspot within the reward system is believed to be necessary for generating the sensation of an intense euphoria.
Pleasure is considered to be one of the core dimensions of emotion. It can be described as the positive evaluation that forms the basis for several more elaborate evaluations such as “agreeable” or “nice”. As such, pleasure is an affect and not an emotion, as it forms one component of several different emotions.
The clinical condition of being unable to experience pleasure from usually enjoyable activities is called anhedonia. An active aversion to obtaining pleasure is called hedonophobia. Pleasure is often regarded as a bipolar construct, meaning that the two ends of the spectrum from pleasant to unpleasant are mutually exclusive.
Yet, some lines of research suggest that people do experience pleasant and unpleasant feelings at the same time, giving rise to so-called mixed feelings. For example, a sweater that has been worn by a celebrity will be more desired than an otherwise identical sweater that has not, though considerably less so if it has been washed. Another example was when Grammy-winning, internationally acclaimed violinist Joshua Bell played in the Washington D.