Gotovina, Sonia, University Of Chicago discussed on Hidden Brain

Hidden Brain


The actually will in the future. Yeah exactly and so. When we think about forecasting center of future feelings were with thinking about the change right in one of my favorite studies out of the university of chicago. People Got the news that they're going to get a kick. I bar and then they sort of anticipated eating it and they aided consumed in then he would call it and similar states of done with like vacations right. Imagine being told you're gonna go to venice in and then now anticipated now gotovina's now call it and in some of the studies. Show that the biggest impact on your happiness during the news part right like when you first alert you get to go to fellas i get to have this chocolate bar more than the anticipation also more than consumption or the recall collection of it. I wanna talk about another psychological driver of the mismatch between expectations and reality. And that is we often. Don't respond with proportion to the annoyances and irritants in daily life so now you had a couple of experiences in close proximity to one another one of which you could classify as a minor irritant and the other was much more serious. Can you tell me about these two incidents and what you learn about yourself from that actually have these two bad experiences on the same day. I had a long window seat on a really long flight and it was taken away from me so i had to sit in the middle and it was really unhappy about that but on the same day got into a really bad car accident on the freeway. I mean i wasn't hurt but my car was completely totaled and it was kind of traumatic and what was incredible. Is that When i had the car accident actually was like really calm and cool headed. And i knew what i had to do. I didn't panic and it's kind of amazing to me. How sometimes when you know really big and bad things happen we are. We are sort of less upset in the moment. Maybe because you know we're kind of string all the resources that we have to cope with the situation whereas when a little hassles happened to us we get angry and we get stressed out this. I think it's a profound inside that you had here. Sonia because i feel like all of us have had this experience. And you hear this all the time. When there are no major calamities happening you know. Ordinary people act with great heroism and poise. And yet you also see people reacting with over the top annoyance and frustration at totally trivial things. And i think there's something here that's not just you know in your mind which really something. That's more gender elizabeth to how human beings think about minor and major irritance. I agree and i think partly it has to do with the stories that we tell about these events. Where with a really big thing. We kind of you know we take pains to to make sense of it to kind of look on the bright side maybe to rationalize it. You know what we've learned from it and the little things. I really kind of hard to rationalize you know like okay. So i lost my air my window seat you know and i'm not gonna go commiserate with that they'll be kinda board or be like wow Boring then i could get social support. You know for the for the car accident right so we all know people who are simply happy. You know bad stuff happens to them but they bounce back. We also know people who are mostly unhappy. Good things happen to them. And you know the have a brief blip of joy and then they go back to feeling morose about their lives. Can you talk about the role of happiness. Set points as one of the psychological drivers between the mismatch between our expectations and reality sure. Well we all know that some people are happier than others This is actually how my research in happiness started in grad school. When my visor. And i started talking about. Why are people with another. There's almost a resentful edged to that question. Sonia sounds like it right but again. I'm pretty heavy percent. But i'd still interested in that question. There's clearly evidence that genetic influences unhappiness in any anyone who has more than one child right can attest You feel like you're kind of raising them in a similar environment and yet some of your kids are probably a lot happier than others. You know they get much more distressed by the same kind of event. You know One kid more than another And so that does play a role that happy. People are kind of Luckier in a sense that they're kind of naturally. You know more grateful and optimistic and more resilient than people are less. Happy so yeah. That's clearly one of the one of the drivers how respond to major changes in our lives. But but isn't it also a source of the mismatch because for example if my happiness levels are actually sat at a certain level in in other words i have some ability to change them up or down. Let's say ten percent fifteen percent twenty percent. But i don't have the ability to change it by seventy percent but but i imagine if i get the relationship that i want if i get the job that i want. If i can move to the city that i want i can become a radically different person. Who is entirely different of happiness. But in fact if my set point of happiness is fixed at a certain level this might be why. There's a mismatch between my expectations and reality right. Well first let me state that if you live in a war zone in syria or a union abusive relationship or you're very poor than absolutely. The environment can change in ways to make you a lot happier but let's say most the listeners as program are you know maybe have fairly comfortable lives so that you know they're not you know very very poor. They're not in a war zone So in that situation Yes they could become happier but probably not hugely hugely happier but one of my favorite kind of ways to think about this comes from. I think it was dear abby. Actually where someone wrote a letter to her said like oh i have this job and i don't like is that i moved to this other job and i thought it would be better but i don't like when either hate my boss and they went to the third job and on and on and abby said you know it's not the job it's you you're the same person moving from one to the other but that can happen in a positive. Another driver in the mismatch between our happiness and our expectations is not inside our own heads but in our culture one of the reasons i became interested in happiness is that when i moved to the us and was almost ten years old. I notice how different americans worse americans would walk down the street and they would smile at you and they would say hi and russians. Don't really do that on the street. On the other hand. I noticed differences. That are kind of public versus private right so when you go to dinner in russian home. This is kind of a stereotype but really it's really true. People are.

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