When the fun Is over: Toward a motivational account of exhaustion and recovery

TitleWhen the fun Is over: Toward a motivational account of exhaustion and recovery
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsCardini, BB, Freund, AM
JournalEuropean Psychologist

. How do we know when an activity has exhausted us or helped us recover? In this paper, we present a motivational approach to exhaustion and recovery that takes into account the multidimensional nature of the constructs. The account details three psychological processes that may – individually and in interaction – underlie exhaustion and recovery. Specifically, we propose that changes in mood, subjective time perception, and opportunity costs experienced during an ongoing effortful or relaxing activity indicate a person’s momentary degree of exhaustion and recovery and impact the decision of whether the person should continue or disengage from the activity at hand. Addressing developmental changes across adulthood, we present two opposing hypotheses on how younger and older adults may differ in their experiences of exhaustion and recovery: (i) Older adults may experience an accelerated subjective time perception compared to younger adults and may thus feel less exhausted (more recovered) than younger adults after spending an identical amount of time engaged in an effortful (relaxing) activity. (ii) Older adults may be more sensitive toward increasing opportunity costs experienced during an effortful or relaxing activity and may therefore feel exhausted or recovered faster than younger adults.