The End of History Illusion [PDF], by Jordi Quoidbach, Daniel T. Gilbert and Timothy D. Wilson:


We measured the personalities, values, and preferences of more than 19,000 people who ranged in age from 18 to 68 and asked them to report how much they had changed in the past decade and/or to predict how much they would change in the next decade. Young people, middle-aged people, and older people all believed they had changed a lot in the past but would change relatively little in the future. People, it seems, regard the present as a watershed moment at which they have finally become the person they will be for the rest of their lives. This “end of history illusion” had practical consequences, leading people to overpay for future opportunities to indulge their current preferences.

Choice quote from the presentation:

[…] it probably has to do with the ease of remembering versus the difficulty of imagining. Most of us can remember who we were ten years ago, but we find it hard to imagine who we’re going to be – and then we mistakenly believe that because it’s hard to imagine, it’s not likely to happen.

Sorry, when people say “I can’t imagine that …,” they are usually talking about their own lack of imagination and not about the unlikelihood of the event that they are describing.

We underestimate how much we will change over the coming years.



One response to “Dan Gilbert: The psychology of your future self”

  1. […] time ago, you were someone else yourself. You experience anything about something because of the thing and because of you. Excitement, joy, […]

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