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    A psychometric evaluation of the Temporal Experience of Pleasure Scales (TEPS)
    HO, PAUL ( 2014)
    A number of hypotheses for behaviour are built on the principle of “hedonic motivation”, the assumption that people are always motivated towards rewards that affords them with the greatest amount of pleasure. Current neurobiological studies have demonstrated that reward-motivational processes and hedonic processes are mediated by independent systems (Dillon et al., 2008). Salient rewards activate the production and attribution of incentive salience by the mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic system, which promotes reward-motivation or ‘wanting’ towards preferred rewards (Berridge, Robinson, & Aldridge, 2009). The attainment of rewards is marked by the experience of pleasure or ‘liking’, which is mediated by the attribution of hedonic gloss to this event by the forebrain opioidergic system (Pecina, Cagniard, Berridge, Aldridge, & Zhuang, 2003). The Incentive Salience Theory (IST) argues against the hedonic principle, maintaining that these two reward-related processes are dissociated, such that the loss or increase in reward ‘liking’ does not affect reward ‘wanting’, and vice-versa (Robinson & Berridge, 2001). The Temporal Experience of Pleasure Scales (TEPS; Gard, Gard, Kring, John, 2006) is the first self-report questionnaire that is designed to assess individual differences in the ability to experience dopaminergic-mediated anticipatory pleasure and opioidergic-mediated consummatory pleasure. However, the psychometric structure of the TEPS has not been fully evaluated, providing the goal of the current study to conduct a psychometric analysis consisting of a factor analysis and construct validation by a convergent-discriminant analysis. While the formation of two distinct subscales in the scale construction study and demonstrating predictive validity with schizophrenia (Gard, Kring, Gard, Horan, & Green, 2007), the two scales lacked clear dissociation and its relationship with schizophrenia has not been consistently observed (Strauss, Wilbur, Warren, August, & Gold, 2011). Two hundred and ninety-two university students in Australia (212 females, 80 males, Mage = 20.19 years, SD = 4.24, age range: 18-53) and 292 university students in the United Kingdom (226 females, 66males, Mage =20.96 years, SD = 4.72, age range: 18-44) completed the TEPS, which required the participant to report the amount of anticipation (anticipatory subscale) or in-the-moment pleasure (consummatory subscale) they would experience in response to hypothetical rewarding experiences. The Australian participants also completed a battery of conceptually-related self-report questionnaires. Given past lack of support, it was not surprising that the two-factor model of the TEPS was unsupported by the current factor analysis. On a similar note, construct validity was unsupported as the lack of discriminant validity with measures of reward-motivation and positive emotionality meant that the two subscales cannot be assumed to be dissociated measures of ‘wanting’ and ‘liking’. In light of these findings, it might be suggested that the assessment of these two reward-related processes by hypothetical self-report is difficult as humans may not be able to think of something pleasurable without also desiring it, and vice-versa (Berridge, 2007). Further limitations of self-reports include the fallibility of autobiographic memory and of affective forecasting (Wilson & Gilbert, 2005). Future studies should consider alternative assessment methods of ‘wanting’ and ‘liking’ that are less reliant on affective forecasting, such as ambulatory affective state assessments and implicit indexes whereas behavioural indexes are highly recommended for their proximity to reality and minimal reliance on conscious deliberation.