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Guilty Pleasures

Definition

A guilty pleasure is an activity with short-term payoffs that are positive for a person but with long-term negative consequences. For example, reading a trashy magazine can be rewarding in the short term because it is fun, but it can be more negative in the long term if your friends think less of you for enjoying it. Other commonly listed guilty pleasures are eating tasty but unhealthy foods and partying even though it interferes with work.

Usage and History

Dilemmas of self-control often present a contrast between immediate payoffs and delayed payoffs. According to Roger Giner-Sorolla, these dilemmas can be described either as delayed cost (guilty pleasure) or delayed benefit (grim necessity). His studies have shown that people associate different emotions with different types of consequences. In ...

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