Are humans merely hedonists? Why do we consume so much media?

By, Elizabeth Jarrard

Some economists like to call the media a “hedonic good.” Media and entertainment have value just because humans like to feel good. And publishers of media and entertainment have something consumers want when they produce “the feel-good feels.” Of course, there are baser human needs that are being met when we are entertained by programs like “Dr. Pimple Popper.” Those baser desires soothe the amygdala or reptilian brain. When we soothe our amygdala by consuming trashy (or to put it more kindly, unconscious) media, we feel good—if only temporarily.

Entertainment like Dr. Pimple Popper might not increase Intelligence Quotient, but her YouTube channel can certainly “amuse us.” She is a medical doctor, so we shouldn’t feel too guilty if we watch her program hour after hour (right?). After all, the root of the word “amusement” means to beguile, or “distract.” There are plenty of other types of media that appeal to our reptilian brain like violent programming or horror films and of course, sex. Yes, we know sex sells.

But media isn’t merely a “hedonic good” because all media consumption is hedonistic. Consumption of some “hedonic goods” may actually be good for you, especially in moderation. Some media consumption is, in fact, uplifting, and while it still might not raise IQ (if we want to do that we need to stop juggling so many balls at once, apparently), uplifting media can give you a feeling of what researchers call, “elevation.”

Photo:   Maliha Mannan

This feeling of elevation causes those who experience it to react with motivations to help another human being in distress. In fact, the researchers studying elevation saw in their test subjects an increased desire to go about doing good when they observed others helping those in need, and associating with others in a positive way. This is called affiliative behavior and it can have all sorts of positive outcomes.  As one researcher put it, feelings of elevation, “seem to push a mental “reset” button, wiping out feelings of cynicism and replacing them with feelings of hope, love, optimism, and a sense of moral inspiration.” It certainly helps us build communities.

At Pindify we may have all sorts of avant-garde artists, dramatic musicians, cheerful chefs, and irascible comedians and entertainers—publishing all kinds of creative content. We’ll let the fans and followers determine what content is elevating and what content may be merely amusing. That’s their job, not ours.

What Pindify does offer is a platform that inspires our community from within to support a culture of cross-industry collaboration and creative team building among our Pindify Providers. We offer a fair and transparent earnings distribution system where Pindify Providers can manage their own businesses and projects without creaming the top off their earnings. We are also here to hear our Pindify Provider’s stories and are eager to support them as they publish their first podcast, or live-stream their first cooking class, or publish their first EP. We certainly hope to inspire artists, creatives, and entertainers to share their content and get paid doing it. That gives us the “feel good feels.” To help creatives be heard and get paid is our passion. It certainly elevates us.

Be heard - Get paid

Elizabeth Jarrard