Jan 062014

When we look back on our lives we can see all the different changes we went through – how our, values, tastes in food and music and so on changed. However, when we look at our future we do not expect this change to continue. Although it is quite unreasonable, we are rather confident that we have reached the end of our personal evolution just now. This phenomenon has been termed the end-of-history illusion.

But why to we think we will stay the same from now on? It is much easier to recall the past than to imagine the future. This then means that recalling past change is easier than imagining future change. Another possible explanation would be that the end-of-history illusion gives us a feeling of security, in assuring us that we will still have the same goals in the future. After all, what would we plan for if not for our current goals?

Slogan from Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, 2008.

Still more research is needed before we know why we cannot accept that we will change a lot in the future, but being aware of this phenomenon might help prevent the next tattoo of your current favorite band/movie/… as it will probably stay much longer than your love for it.

– David Huesmann

Read more:
[1] Quoidbach, J.; Gilbert, D. T.; Wilson, T. D. Science 2013, 339, 96–8.
[2] http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/reality-play/201301/the-end-history-illusion

Image downloaded from: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Change_We_Can_Believe_In.svg.

  One Response to “Why do we think we will not change in the future?”

  1. Glad I’ve finally found something I agree with!

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