We all do things we know we shouldn’t. Eat that party size bag of M&Ms when we’re stressed. Have just one more drink. Sleep with our ex. Get a tattoo of the KFC Double Down sandwich (this actually happened).

There’s even an entire city is built on the knowledge that we will do stupid things: what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.  

Today we’ll talk about three reasons why—even as our conscience or our common sense screams, “Nooooooooo!”—we watch ourselves do things we know we’ll regret.

Reason #1: Two Kinds of Pleasure.  From a 2007 paper in the journalPsychopharmacology comes the idea that there are actually two types of pleasure. The first type is how we usually think of pleasure: a state of happy satisfaction. For example, we get this kind of pleasure from a good meal, sex and its afterglow, or from that first sip when we’re really, really thirsty. We’ll call this pleasure “liking.”


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