Dissatisfied by design: the evolution of discontent
The following will explore multiple evolutionary psychological hypotheses, all of which bear on the nature of human satisfaction. I first address human decision-making across multiple domains of resource competition, hypothesizing that preferences for goods in some domains are not judged according to absolute amounts of resource holdings, but rather on how much one has compared to others —a positional bias. Studies 1 and 2 will explore the positional bias and how it affects men’s and women’s decision-making behaviors. I will then address one of the human motivational systems likely involved in facilitating behavior that is consistent with the positional bias: the emotion of envy. Studies 3, 4, and 5 will explore sex differences in men’s and women’s envy experiences and the role played by envy in social memory. The current studies present new data that provide novel insights into the nature of satisfaction, well-being, and important decision-making processes that guide human social behavior in a variety of domains.