Dan Gilbert-Why Our Inability To Predict Emotions May Be Beneficial

If you haven’t read the book Stumbling on Happiness, I highly recommend doing so. It will help you understand the difficulty in forecasting emotions. Today,  I link to an interview with Daniel Gilbert author of Stumbling on Happiness.

Article Introduction (Via Psychology Today)

Every decision, big or small, is made based on the belief that it will ultimately make us happier than would any alternative choice. Unfortunately, human beings aren’t very accurate in predicting their emotional reactions to future events. Daniel Gilbert, Ph.D., a Harvard University psychology professor, discusses his research on this tendency, called affective forecasting, and why we don’t really want to improve our power to predict.

Article Excerpts (Via Pschology Today)

“We take action predicated upon the belief-explicit or implicit-that one action will lead to greater rewards than some alternative action. Whether we’re trying to decide what to have for breakfast, or whether or not to get married, every decision is based on the belief that one choice will probably lead us to feel better than another choice.”

“For instance, when asked to predict how they will feel two months after a breakup, people often expect to feel devastated. But when you compare them with those who have already gone through a breakup, you find that the effects tend to be milder and wear off much more quickly than was predicted.”

“The difference between the physical and psychological immune systems is that we know we have a physical immune system and that we’ll get over a cold pretty quickly. The psychological immune system tends to be invisible to us, so we act as though we’re out there without any psychological defenses.”

Click here to read the full article on Emotional Forecasting (Make sure to scroll to the bottom of page)

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23. October 2008 by Miguel Barbosa
Categories: Curated Readings, Psychology & Sociology | Leave a comment

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