Providing a comprehensive perspective on human desire, this volume brings together leading experts from multiple psychological subdisciplines.

It addresses such key questions as how desires of different kinds emerge, how they influence judgment and decision making, and how problematic desires can be effectively controlled. Current research is reviewed on underlying brain mechanisms and regulatory processes. Cutting-edge measurement tools are described, including practical recommendations for their use. The book also examines pathological forms of desire and the complex relationship between desire and happiness. The concluding section analyzes specific applied domains—eating, sex, aggression, substance use, shopping, and social media.


“Desire can overpower us, making a mockery of our efforts to diet, to focus, to be faithful. And yet, it also can make us soar, inspiring invention, heroism, poetry. Hofmann and Nordgren have recruited the most respected authorities and have worked with them to create a brilliant, innovative book. If you’re interested in understanding the essence of human experience, this magnificent volume is for you. This book is ideal for scholars and students interested in goal pursuit, self-regulation, neuroscience, craving, dieting, aggression—the list goes on.”

—Eli J. Finkel, PhD, Department of Psychology and the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

“This volume broadens our view of human behavior and motivation. As the chapters convincingly demonstrate, behavior is not only a function of its anticipated consequences, but also must be understood as being directed and propelled by immediate desires with deep evolutionary roots. The contributors are outstanding experts in both basic and applied areas of psychology.”

—Fritz Strack, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Würzburg, Germany