What's Happening

People Underestimate How Much They Will Change Over Time

February 2, 2013|Counseling & Psychotherapy

Did you know that people, maybe even you, underestimate how different they will be in the future? We all recognize how much we've changed over the last 10 to 20 years.

However, when envisioning our future, we see ourselves as being similar to how we are now.  Some suggest that we need more imagination about how we can grow and change and how we can create a different life. Psychotherapy and counseling can help people envision new lives and create better ones.

Who will you be in 10 years?

Excerpts from article:

When we remember our past selves, they seem quite different. We know how much our personalities and tastes have changed over the years. But when we look ahead, somehow we expect ourselves to stay the same, a team of psychologists said Thursday, describing research they conducted of people’s self-perceptions.

They called this phenomenon the “end of history illusion,” in which people tend to “underestimate how much they will change in the future.” According to their research, which involved more than 19,000 people ages 18 to 68, the illusion persists from teenage years into retirement.

“Middle-aged people — like me — often look back on our teenage selves with some mixture of amusement and chagrin,” said one of the authors, Daniel T. Gilbert, a psychologist at Harvard. “What we never seem to realize is that our future selves will look back and think the very same thing about us. At every age we think we’re having the last laugh, and at every age we’re wrong.”

Other psychologists said they were intrigued by the findings, published Thursday in the journal Science, and were impressed with the amount of supporting evidence. Participants were asked about their personality traits and preferences — their favorite foods, vacations, hobbies and bands — in years past and present, and then asked to make predictions for the future. Not surprisingly, the younger people in the study reported more change in the previous decade than did the older respondents.

But when asked to predict what their personalities and tastes would be like in 10 years, people of all ages consistently played down the potential changes ahead.

Read article at: You Won’t Stay the Same, Study Finds – NYTimes.com.

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