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Ashley Feng, Aenne Brielmann, Denis Pelli; The monetary value of pleasure is independent of object kind. Journal of Vision 2020;20(11):779. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.11.779.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
For Bentham (1781), pleasure is the only value that matters. To test this, we used an auction task to measure the monetary value of three different kinds of object: postcards, snacks, and money lotteries. Undergraduate students bid up to $4.00 on each item. They also viewed each stimulus and rated how much pleasure they felt from it on a scale of 1 to 7. At the end of the session, observers received any unspent money and the objects that they bid for successfully. We find that the relationship between dollar value and pleasure is conserved across object kind. Across all object kinds, a 1-point increase in pleasure corresponded to a $0.24±0.03 (𝛽 ± SE) increase in value, averaged across observers. That point value (averaged across kind) varied greatly across observers (0.26±0.13), but was conserved across object kinds (AIC difference between models with versus without object-kind-interaction: 2.7, p = 0.262). These results support Bentham’s conjecture that value is just pleasure.
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