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Imaginary relish and exquisite torture: The elaborated intrusion theory of desire

Kavanagh, D.J., Andrade, J. and May, J. (2005) Imaginary relish and exquisite torture: The elaborated intrusion theory of desire. Psychological Review, 112 (2). pp. 446-467. ISSN 0033-295X


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The authors argue that human desire involves conscious cognition that has strong affective connotation and is potentially involved in the determination of appetitive behavior rather than being epiphenomenal to it. Intrusive thoughts about appetitive targets are triggered automatically by external or physiological cues and by cognitive associates. When intrusions elicit significant pleasure or relief, cognitive elaboration usually ensues. Elaboration competes with concurrent cognitive tasks through retrieval of target-related information and its retention in working memory. Sensory images are especially important products of intrusion and elaboration because they simulate the sensory and emotional qualities of target acquisition. Desire images are momentarily rewarding but amplify awareness of somatic and emotional deficits. Effects of desires on behavior are moderated by competing incentives, target availability, and skills. The theory provides a coherent account of existing data and suggests new directions for research and treatment.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2005 American Psychological Association. This is an author produced version of an article published in Psychological Review. This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Science (Sheffield) > Department of Psychology (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Jackie Andrade
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2005
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2014 15:17
Published Version: http://www.apa.org/journals/rev/
Status: Published
Refereed: Yes
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/509

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