Another specific example of The Jank That Is Morale that I experienced recently.
I was doing the lab challenge, and had broken an arm. I had fortified a living quarters area and was resting there to heal. Food supplies were running low, so I brought myself from famished to full with something profoundly unappetizing (I don’t remember what it was). Naturally, this tanked my morale. I did have a novel on hand, though, so I read that to get my morale up, and managed to get my morale positive again. I then read some textbooks, but was interrupted when my morale buff from the novel wore off, making me too depressed to study. I read the novel again to bring my morale back up, and then read some more of the textbook before being interrupted again. I alternated beteween the novel and the textbook this way until I was tired, and then slept.
Now, the way I play, alternating between novels and textbooks is pretty normal, and I don’t really see a problem with that. What was weird was just how far my morale oscillated. It was probably the combination of boredom from the textbook and disgust from the food that brought my morale so low. We’ve already established that food morale is especially wonky, but the situation gave me another idea.
What if positive and negative morale stimuli were allowed to occupy the same category, thereby cancelling each other out? What if reading the novel made first removed the morale penalty for being bored of reading the textbook before starting to add its bonus? For food, this means that tasty food could be used to get rid of the taste of bad food.
Maybe some stimuli could mitigate negative morale, but do not grant positive morale. For example, clean water might have an enjoyability rating of 0, but it could possibly be used to wash away bad flavors from the mouth, raising food morale toward zero.