On the causes and consequences of hedonic adaptation
We provide a simple evolutionary explanation for the emergence of hedonic adaptation. The model’s key assumption is that, apart from guiding long-term behavior, some sensations fulfill warning and defense roles (e.g., pain). Contrary to the alternative evolutionary explanations for hedonic adaptation (Robson, 2002; Rayo and Becker, 2007), our theory can explain why some sensations are adaptive, while others (with warning/defense roles) are not adaptive at all. Finally, we show that differential adaptation has important welfare and policy implications.
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