…because some thoughts are worth remembering
Affective forecasting is the prediction of how we will feel in the future. Research shows that we are quite bad at it. We tend to overestimate the extent and the duration of emotional reactions, that is to say, we think the joy of winning the lottery is going to be greater and lasts longer, and that we imagine we wouldn’t be able to go on if a car accident leaves us paraplegic.
It turns out that our view of the present state is based on comparisons with our past, called the “adaption principle”. If we win the lottery, we may experience great excitement, but in a few weeks, your present state will not be any better than when you first experienced the joy, even though you may have more material comforts than you did before winning the lottery. We become accustomed to whatever emotional state we experienced, where the excitement fades and the sadness passes.
Photo: In the crypt of Viborg Domkirke (Viborg Cathedral), in Viborg, Denmark