Monday, September 27, 2010

I've Experienced “Impact Bias”

Daniel Gilbert a professor of psychology and his collaborator Tim Wilson gave many examples of how one feels in a happy or sad situation. One of his example was most people would think winning the lottery would make them happy forever, but that is not true. Another example is when a love one pass away, many would feel and think that they would never get over the impact, but that is not true too. The different emotions that a person feel will only last for a short period of time, but many people tend to overestimate the length and intensity of their feelings, this is call “impact bias”; this has happened to me before without even knowing whether I was feeling “happy” or “sad”.
The time when I was feeling really down was when my cousin Sally and her family moved away. Even though, everyone was informed about their move it did not feel right. She was not relocating a few streets away, she was moving to a different state from New York to Illinois, about seven hundred forty-two miles away ( On the day of the move sending my cousin to the airport, and saying our good-byes at that moment I felt joyless. It was a moment where I thought I would never see her again. And I would miss her continuously. In the end after so many years that feeling is gone. I may miss her, but it is not the same feeling when I first sent her to the airport.
Another event where I over predicted my emotions was when I got my first cell phone. Everyone else had a cell phone and I did not. My friends would ask for my cell number, but I was only able to tell them my home phone number. When I finally got the cell phone I was in bliss. I would be able to call my friends and use it like an iPod. It became more convents when I stayed out late and had to call my parents. Never again would I need to borrow my friend’s cell phone to call or use the polluted payphones. After a month or two, the way I felt when I got my cell phone has vanished. Now it is just a cell phone a regular phone.    
The words “never” or “forever” does not tell us how we would feel in the future. The emotions that one feels are only during the present, during that time. It may linger around for a few days maybe longer but not forever. Impact bias is something that everyone would experience and helps us keep moving forward. We think our goals would make use happy always once we reached it. Our mind works wonders and without impact bias we may be stuck in one place not moving at all.