The Effects of Mastery on Subjective Utility

Irene Scopelliti, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
George Loewenstein, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
The pleasure of mastery, and the subsequent motivation to achieve and to improve skills, is an important characteristic of human beings that economic models have overlooked. We assess the effects of mastery on persistence at, and enjoyment of, an activity. Results of an experiment show that people spend more time and enjoy more activities they master than activities they do not master, irrespectively of the payoffs. However, people fail to predict these effects and choose activities they enjoy less and want to terminate earlier, if these activities provide higher payoffs. Implications for theory and policy-making are discussed.
[ to cite ]:
Irene Scopelliti and George Loewenstein (2011) ,"The Effects of Mastery on Subjective Utility", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 39, eds. Rohini Ahluwalia, Tanya L. Chartrand, and Rebecca K. Ratner, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 793-794.