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Sluggish future

January 5, 2013


It seems humans persistently underestimate how much we will change in the future. People keep thinking we are staying the same, despite clear recollection we have changed in the past. The psychologists call this phenomenon the end of history illusion.

According to the latest research, involving more than 19,000 individuals between the age of 18 to 68, this idea about ourselves lingers from our teenage years to retirement. When asked about the future decade, the predictions of typical women in their 20s were far less radical, than the recollections of women in 30s of how much they had changed in the past 10 years. This sort of discrepancy persisted among respondents all the way into their 60s.

The end of history illusion may represent a failure in personal imagination, said a psychologist after studying the stories people construct about their past and future lives. We often recall complex, dynamic stories about our past, but tend to make vague, prosaic projections of our future; firmly believing things will stay pretty much the same. So, next time someone asks you, how you see yourself in the next five years, let your imagination fly over this illusion and go beyond your wildest dreams.


From → Zeitgeist

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