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Why predicting our future feelings is so difficult

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200825-why-predicting-our-future-feelings-is-so-difficult

bbc.com

Why predicting our future feelings is so difficult
When you imagine how you’ll feel at a future date, you’re unaware of subtle but powerful biases that frame the way you think.

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Mistakes in predicting our future feelings

Mistakes in predicting our future feelings

We are not very good at guessing how we'll feel in the future. In predicting how we will feel in the future, we commonly use the past experience as a guide.

But our brain favours the extreme and most recent events. We tend to focus on the main features of an event and less on the journey to get there. This means that we won't always make the best decisions about our lives.

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Overestimating our future emotions

We overestimate the strength of our emotions in the future.

Studies show that people overestimated their happiness at winning and their disappointment at losing because they forgot all the other things that would happen in a day that would influence their mood.

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Feelings are not long-lasting

A lottery winner, for instance, won't spend every day celebrating their win. Nor will someone with a disabling accident spend all their time in shock.

When imagining either situation, we like to think that the feelings will be long-lasting. We forget that we will adapt and that the feeling will eventually wear off.

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How we can make good decision

  • When we have a decision to make, it is recommended to solicit the views of people who have had the experience you're considering.
  • We can also ask the opinions of those around us since people tend to take a longer-term view when thinking about other people's choices.
  • The kind of questions we ask is also important. Instead of asking if you should take the new job, ask what they think your day-to-day life will be like if you take it.

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Affective forecasting

It refers to how we predict our future emotions and how certain life events will affect them.

We’re generally pretty bad at it—and that impacts our productivity, our goal setting, and ...

We're bad at predicting our feelings

The main barriers to accurate affective forecasting:

  • Impact Bias: Your tendency to overestimate the intensity and duration of future emotions. 
  • Projection Bias: However you feel in the present, you tend to project that onto the future. 
  • Focalism: When picturing an event in the future, you tend to focus only on that event, to the exclusion of everything else that may happen.

“Our ability to look into the future and think about what will make us most happy is the way that we get to a present that pleases us.”

“Our ability to look into the future and think about what will make us most happy is the way that we get to a present that pleases us.”

Motivation Through Watching Sports

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Most people would not even want to go out on a sunny day when the game is on, instead gathering snacks to watch it on the LED screen.

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