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Archive for October 7th, 2007

Could you “party hard” for a week straight? That is, could you go non-stop drinking alcohol (or drugs) and doing all of the other things that is generally associated with typical “hard partying” for a constant seven days and seven nights?

Many college students would likely say — bring it on! But it may not be as easy as it seems. In fact, for most of us — it may be darn near impossible, if not highly improbable.

Why is that? Why are we not likely to party hard for a week straight? The answer to that question may be both simple and complex, but there’s no doubt it’s central to the entire discussion about the psychology of satisfaction.

This scenario was actually posed by Dr. Shelly in his class many years ago (if my memory serves me correctly). Basically, he said at the beginning of the semester that there were a number of ways in which to get a good grade, and one of them was to literally party day and night for a week. Did anybody take him up on it? Don’t know. But it’s an intriguing and perhaps tempting test.

So why wouldn’t most of us be unable to fulfill the requirement? The simple answer is — we wouldn’t be able to maintain the same level of external and internal stimulation during that time. At some point we are likely to be either overstimulated (and thus find the experience very dissatisfying) or oversaturated and bored with the same level of stimulation, in which case we need to find even more stimulation to maintain the status quo.

Could it be that too much stimulation is not a good thing? You bet. Yet the other interesting thing to note – our acceptance level of stimulation is individually set. That is to say — we each respond to different levels of stimulation in different ways. Here’s an obvious example — some of us love really big, scary rollercoasters (highly stimulating), while some of us are scared to death of them and won’t go on them. Any discussion of satisfaction and happiness gets complicated because of these individual tolerance levels of stimulation and arousal.

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