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The pleasure of an outcome is often evaluated relative to salient reference points. In the background, increasing sequences of positive outcomes are more enjoy- able than decreasing sequences. In the foreground, outcomes that could have been worse are often more enjoyable than those that could have been better. How does pleasure vary when both background and foreground reference points are salient? Using a repeated gambling task in which participants make a choice, learn the outcome, watch their cumulative earnings change, and rate the pleasure of the out- come, we explore this question. Pleasure depends on background and foreground reference points, but the immediate events tend to dominate. The relatively narrow focus on the most recent reference points leads to myopic pleasure. We offer a modified version of decision affect theory to account for the results and explore the implications for consumer satisfaction.

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Motivation and Emotion

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Motivation and Emotion, Vol. 28, No. 1, March 2004 ( C ° 2004)

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