Full Text


Jan C. Kapsner

Subject Psychology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405161251.2009.x


Enjoyment is thought of as engagement in a challenging experience that either includes or results in a positive affective state. Enjoyment is often considered synonymous with pleasure in much existing literature and research, but Csikszentmihalyi provides an important distinction between the two. He purports that pleasure is the feeling of contentment achieved when biological or social needs have been met, whereas enjoyment is characterized by forward movement that accomplishes something novel or challenging, resulting in a growth experience. Borrowing from Deci and Ryan's work on intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation, this optimal growth experience becomes an enjoyable activity that is done regardless of future benefits, because doing it is in itself a reward. Wankel, in his work in sport and exercise psychology, takes a more inclusive approach, defining enjoyment as a positive affective state that may result from the meeting of certain needs, or a more growth oriented cognitive perception of having successfully achieved something difficult. Affect and cognition, Wankel asserts, can be distinguished as separate entities even though they are both generally present in a situation that results in enjoyment. Kimiecik and Harris, also working in sport and exercise psychology, take a narrower view, proposing that enjoyment cannot be both an affect and a cognition. They suggest that ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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