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Abstract

Two studies were conducted to test the hypothesis that the more stressful an experience is, the more positively it will be evaluated. Stressfulness was manipulated in the two studies by means of threat of shock, and both self-report and physiological measures of stress indicated that these manipulations were highly successful. In both studies subjects who were exposed to the more stressful situation evaluated their experience as significantly more worthwhile and somewhat more interesting than did subjects exposed to the less stressful situation. Furthermore, as expected, subjects did not like the high stress experience more than the low stress experience. Implications and qualifications of these findings are discussed.