Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 313–332 | Cite as

Pleasure: An Initial Exploration

  • Robert Biswas-Diener
  • P. Alex Linley
  • Helen Dovey
  • John Maltby
  • Robert Hurling
  • Joy Wilkinson
  • Nadezhda Lyubchik
Research Paper


Pleasure has long been implicated as an important aspect of happiness. Unfortunately, the study of pleasure in the science of happiness has largely been relegated to positive affective states. While pleasure and affect are difficult to disentangle there is, we argue, utility in examining pleasure on its own merits rather than using proxy measures such as those of positive affect. Relatively little research exists directly connecting sensual pleasures and similar pleasurable experiences with happiness. In this research, we used a large international sample (N = 229,728) to explore individual and cross-national differences in pleasure. In particular, we examined the dominant pleasure profiles of nations as well as the relations of personality, gender and age to pleasure variables. These pleasure profiles were drawn from an examination of distinct pleasure leanings including those associated with taste, touch, smell, sight, hearing, achievement, relaxation, social connection and thrills. Our findings reveal significant relationships between personality, gender, age and culture—respectively—with pleasure. The specific relationships are discussed in detail.


Pleasure Happiness Hedonism Subjective well-being Culture 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Biswas-Diener
    • 1
    • 2
  • P. Alex Linley
    • 3
  • Helen Dovey
    • 3
  • John Maltby
    • 4
  • Robert Hurling
    • 5
  • Joy Wilkinson
    • 5
  • Nadezhda Lyubchik
    • 2
  1. 1.Positive AcornMilwaukieUSA
  2. 2.Portland State UniversityPortlandUSA
  3. 3.Centre of Applied Positive Psychology, The Venture CentreUniversity of Warwick Science ParkCoventryUK
  4. 4.University of LeicesterLeicesterUK
  5. 5.Unilever Discover ColworthBedfordshireUK

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