Hmmm…not sure I agree, but take a look at this from Saturday’s (January 8, 2011) Wall Street Journal:
College students would rather have their self-esteem stroked than eat their favorite food, have sex or drink beer, a study found. In one scenario, 130 subjects were asked to think of something they knew boosted self-esteem, such as getting a compliment or a good grade.
They were then asked to rate, on a 1-to-5 scale, how much pleasure the experience brought them and how much they "wanted" it (right now, in general, in good times, and in bad). In the same way, they rated the experience of having sex and eating their favorite food.
Overall, the students valued the self-esteem increase more than good food or sex. The ratio of "wanting" to "liking" was used to gauge the addictive qualities of each pleasure: Addicts can want a fix more than they like it. While students said that they liked all of these things more than they wanted them, the gap was narrowest in the case of self-esteem—which hints at the intoxicating effects of ego, the authors said.
From "Sweets, Sex, or Self-Esteem? Comparing the Value of Self-Esteem Boosts with Other Pleasant Rewards," Brad J. Bushman, Scott J. Moeller, and Jennifer Crocker, Journal of Personality (forthcoming)