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The End of History Illusion

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We measured the personalities, values, and preferences of more than 19,000 people who ranged in age from 18 to 68 and asked them to report how much they had changed in the past decade and/or to predict how much they would change in the next decade. Young people, middle-aged people, and older people all believed they had changed a lot in the past but would change relatively little in the future. People, it seems, regard the present as a watershed moment at which they have finally become the person they will be for the rest of their lives. This "end of history illusion" had practical consequences, leading people to overpay for future opportunities to indulge their current preferences.
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DOI: 10.1126/science.1229294
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et al.Jordi Quoidbach
The End of History Illusion
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The End of History Illusion
Jordi Quoidbach,
1,2
Daniel T. Gilbert,
2
* Timothy D. Wilson
3
We measured the personalities, values, and preferences of more than 19,000 people who ranged in
age from 1 8 to 68 and asked them to report how much they had changed in the past decade and/or
to predict how much they would change in the next decade. Young people, middle-aged people, and
older people all believed they had changed a lot in the p ast but would change relatively little in the future.
People, it seems, regard the present as a watershed moment at which they have finally become the
person they will be for the rest of their lives. This end of history illusion had practical consequences,
leading people to overpay for future opportunities to indulge their current preferences.
A
teverystageoflife,peoplemakede-
cisions that profoundly influence the
lives of the people they will become
and when they finally become those people,
they arentalwaysthrilledaboutit.Youngadults
pay to remove the tattoos that teenagers paid
to get, middle-aged adults rush to divorce the
people whom young adults rushed to marry,
and older adults visit health spas to lose what
middle-aged adults visited restaurants to gain.
Why do people so often make decisions that their
future selves regret?
One possibility is that people have a funda-
mental misconception about their future selves.
Time is a powerful force that transforms peoples
preferences, reshapes their values, and alters
their personalities, and we suspect that people
generally underestimate the magnitude of those
changes. In other words, people may believe
that who they are today is pretty much who they
will be tomorrow , despite the fact that it isnt
who they were yesterday. In the studies we de-
scribe here, we showed that people expect to
change little in the future, despite knowing that
they have changed a lot in the past, and that this
tende n c y bed e vi l s the i r dec i s io n -m a k in g . We call
this tendency to underestimate the magnitude
of future change the end of history illusion.
To investigate this phenomenon, we asked
samples of people who varied widely in age to
predict how much they would change over the
next 10 years, we asked similar samples to re-
port how much they had changed over the past
10 years, and we compared the predictions of
people aged a years to the reports of people aged
a+10 years. W e expected people aged a years
to predict less change over the next 10 years
than people aged a+10 years reported over the
pas t 10 ye a r s . We us e d thi s st r a t e g y to st u d y ho w
much people thought they would change in the
domains of personality (a personscharacter-
istic patterns of behavior), core values (a persons
ideals and principles), and preferences (a persons
likes and dislikes).
In study 1, we sought to determine whether
people underestimate the extent to which their
person ali tie s will change in the future. We re-
cruited a sample of 7519 adults ranging in age
fro m 18 to 68 ye ar s [me a n (M)=40years,stan-
dard deviation (SD) = 1 1.3 years, 80% women]
through the W eb site of a popular television show
and asked them to complete the T en Item Per-
sonality Inventory (1), which is a standard mea-
sure of the five trait dimensions that underlie
human personality (i.e., conscientiousness, agree-
ableness, emotional stability, openness to experi-
ence, and extraversion). Participants were then
randomly assigned either to the reporter condi-
tion (and were asked to complete the measure as
they would have completed it 10 years earlier) or
the predictor condition (and were asked to com-
plete the measure as they thought they would
complete it 10 years hence). We then computed
the absolute value of the difference between par-
ticipants ratings of their current personality and
their reported or predicted personality and aver-
aged these across the five traits to create a mea-
sure of reported or predicted change in personality .
Additional methodological details about study
1canbefoundinsupplementarytext1to3.
We analyzed these measures by first assigning
avaluetoeachofthe4110-yearperiodsbetween
ages 18 and 68. W e called this variable de cade.
For each decade, we compared the predictions of
predictors aged a to the reports of reporters aged
a +10years.So,forexample,whendecade=1,
we compared 18-year-old predictors and 28-year-
old reporters; when decade = 2, we compared
19-year-old predictors and 29-year-old reporters;
and so on. We did not coll ec t data from repor t er s
who were younger than 28 years, because in our
sample there were no predictors younger than
18 years with whom to compare them, and we
did not collect data from predictors who were
older than 58 years, because in our sample there
were no repo rter s older than 68 years with whom
to compare them.
We entered participants reported or predicted
changes in personality into a multiple regression
analysis with three predictor variables: decade
(coded 1 through 41), condition (coded 1 for pre-
dictors and 1forreporters),andadecade X
condition interaction. First, the analysis revealed
an effect of decade [beta coefficient (b)= 0.13,
P <0.001],indicatingthattheoldertheparticipants
were, the less personality change they reported or
predicted. This finding is consistent with a large
body of research showing that personality becomes
more stable as people age (2). Second, the anal-
ysis revealed the expected ef fect of condition (b =
0.14, P <0.001).ThetoppanelofFig.1shows
this end of history illusion: Predictors aged a
predicted that they would change less over the
next decade than reporters aged a +10years
reported having changed over the same decade.
Finally , there was no decade X condition inter-
action (b =0.01,P =0.68),indicatingthatthe
magnitude of the end of history illusi on did not
change across decades. Next, we conducted follow-
up studies to answer three questions.
First, is it possible that the discrepancy be-
tween participants reports and predictions in
study 1 was due entirely to the erroneous mem-
ory of reporters, who may have overestimated
how much they had changed in the past 10 years,
rather than to the erroneous predictions of pre-
dictors, who may have underestimated how much
they would change in the next 10 years? T o in-
vestigate this possibility , we compared the mag-
nitudes of the predicted and reported personality
changes in our sample to the magnitude of ac-
tual personality change observed in an indepen-
dent sample of 3808 adults ranging from 20 to
75 years old ( M =47.2years,SD=12.4years,
55% women), whose personalities had been mea-
sured as part of the MacArthur Foundation Sur-
vey of Midlife Development in the United States
(MIDUS). These adults completed the MIDUS
Big Five s cale (3)forthefirsttimein1995199 6
(MIDUS 1) and for a second time in 20042006
(MIDUS 2). The MIDUS Big Five scale has good
construct validity and correlates with other sim-
ilar scales (4, 5). Because the personality mea-
sures used in the MIDUS study and in our study
were scored on different scales, direct compari-
son of the data was not possible. To estimate
the magnitudes of actual, reported, and predicted
personality change, we computed intraclass cor-
relations (ICC-A1), which account for both ab-
solute and rank-based change (6). Specifically,
we computed (i) the ICC between the two admin-
istrations of the personality test in the MIDUS
sample, which was 0.52; (ii) the ICC between cur-
rent and reported personality for participants in
our sample, which was 0.51; and (iii) the ICC be-
tween current and predicted personality for par-
ticipants in our sample, which was 0.65. Larger
ICCs, of course, indicate less personality change.
As inspection of these ICCs reveals, the magnitude
of reported personality change in our sample was
almost identical to the magnitude of actual per-
sonality change in the MIDUS sample, suggesting
that participants in our sample were relatively ac-
curate when reporting the amount of change they
had experienced in the past. However , the magni-
tude of actual personality change in the MIDUS
sample was substantially larger than the magni-
tude of predicted personality change in our sam-
ple, suggesting that participants in our sample
were relatively inaccurate when predicting the
amount of change they would experience in the
future. In short, it seems likely that the discrepan-
cy between the reported and predicted personality
1
National Fund for Scientific Research, Brussels, Belgium.
2
Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge,
MA 02138, USA.
3
Department of Psychology, University of
Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 229044400, USA.
*To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail:
gilbert@wjh.harvard.edu
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changes of participants in study 1 is due at least
in part to errors of prediction and not merely to
errors of memory . Study 3 pr ovides further support
for this claim.
Second, is it possible that reporters and pre-
dictors in study 1 interpreted the scales differ-
ently, so that words such as conscientious or
agreeable meant one thing to reporters and
another thing to predictors? To investigate this
possibility, we replicated study 1 with an indepen-
dent sample of 613 adults (M =40.5years,SD=
8.4 years, 86.6% women) recruited through the
same W eb site and using a design in which each
participant was assigned to both the reporter and
the predictor conditions, thus ensuring that any
idiosyncratic interpretation of the scales would
influence both conditions equally. This design
requ ired tha t we re s t r i c t our s a mp l e to pa r t i c i p a n t s
aged 28 to 58. Because participants contributed
data to both conditions, we performed a multi-
level version of the analysis described in study
1. The analysis revealed the expected effect of
condition (b = 7.69, P =0.001),indicating
that predictors aged a years predicted that they
would change less over the next decade than re-
porters aged a +10yearsreportedhavingchanged
over the same decadeeven though the reports
and predictions were made by the same partic-
ipants. This finding suggests that idiosyncratic
interpretations of the scale are not the cause of
the effects seen in study 1.
Third, is it possible that predictors in study
1knewthattheywouldchangeoverthenext
10 years, but because they did not know exactly
how they would change, they did not feel confi-
dent predicting specific changes? To investigate
thi s possi bility, we re pl i cate d study 1 with a n inde-
pendent sample of 1163 adults (M =38.4years,
SD = 12.1 years, 78% women) recruited through
the same Web site. Instead of being asked to
report or predict their specific personality traits,
these participants were simply asked to report
how much they felt they had changed as a
person over the last 10 years and how much they
thought they would change as a person over the
next 10 years. Because some participants con-
tributed data to both conditions, we performed a
multilevel version of the analysis described in
study 1. The analysis revealed the expected effect
of condition (b = 0.74, P =0.007),indicating
that predictors aged a years predicted that they
would change less over the next decade than
reporters aged a +10yearsreportedhavingchanged
over the same decade. This finding suggests that
alackofspecificknowledgeabouthowone
might change in the future was not the cause of
the effects seen in study 1.
In study 2, we sought to determine whether
the end of history illusion was limited to the do-
main of personality, and so we repeated our pro-
cedure in the domain of core values. W e recruited
anewsampleof2717adultsranginginagefrom
18 to 68 years (M =38.6years,SD=10.6years,
82% women) through the same W eb site and
asked them to indicate the importance of each
of 10 basic values (such as hedon is m, suc ce ss ,
security, etc.) that were taken from the Schwartz
Valu e Inve nto ry (7). Otherwise, the design was
identical to that of study 1.
We performed a regression analysis similar to
the one performed in study 1. First, the analysis
revealed an effect of decade (b = 0.23, P <
0.0010, indicating that the older participants
were, the less change in their core values they
reported or predicted. Second, the analysis re-
vealed the expected effect of condition (b =
0.46, P <0.001).ThemiddlepanelofFig.1
shows this end of history illusion: Predictors
aged a years predicted that they would change
less over the next d ecad e than reporter s aged
a +10yearsreportedhavingchangedoverthe
Fig. 1. Standardized predicted and reported changes across dec ades in study 1 (top panel), s tudy 2 (middle panel), and study 3 (bottom panel). The graph
shows moving averages smoothed with a 4-year Gaussian filter. Additional information about this figure can be found in supplementary text 4.
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same decade. Finally, the analysis revealed a dec-
ade × condition interaction (b =0.08,P <0.001).
Although the magnitude of the end of hist o r y
illusion decreased as participants got older, it was
nonetheless present even in the oldest group of
participants (aged 50 and up) (b = 0.34, P <
0.001). Further discussion of this decade × con-
dition interaction can be found in supplementary
text 5.
The foregoing studies show that people ex-
pect to experience less change in their person-
alities and core values over the next decade than
people a decade older report having experienced
over the past decade. The analysis presented in
study 1 suggests that this discrepancy represents,
at least in part, an error of prediction and is not
merely an error of memory. T o provide further
support for this claim, in study 3 we examined
the end of history illusion in a domain in which
memory was likely to be highly reliable. Rather
than asking reporters to remember how extra-
verted they had been or how much they had once
valued honesty, we asked them to remember sim-
ple facts about their strongest preferences, such
as the name of their favorite musical band or
the name of their best friend. We reasoned that
if participants remembered having a different
best friend 10 years ago but expected to have
the same best friend 10 years from now, then this
was probably not due to a pervasive tendency
for people of all ages to actually keep their best
friends but mistakenly remember changing them.
To test this hypothesis, we recruited a new
sample of 7130 adults ranging from 18 to 68 years
old (M =40.2years,SD=11.1years,80%women)
through the same Web site and asked them to
report their favorite type of music, their favorite
type of vacation, their favorite type of food, their
favorite hobby, and the name of their best friend.
Participants were then randomly assigned either
to the reporter condition (and were asked to report
whether each of their current preferences was
the same as or dif ferent than it was 10 years ago) or
the predictor condition (and were asked to predict
whether each of their current preferences would be
the same or different 10 years from now). We then
counted the number of items on which participants
respon ded different and used this as a measure
of reported or predicted changes in preference.
We performed a regression analysis similar
to the ones performed in studies 1 and 2. First,
the analysis revealed an effect of decade (b =
0.14, P <0.001).Theolderparticipantswere,
the less change in preferences they reported or
predicted. Second, the analysis revealed the ex-
pected effect of condition (b = 0.19, P <0.001).
The bottom panel in Fig. 1 shows this end of
history illusion: Predictors aged a years pre-
dicted that their preferences would change less
over the next decade than reporters aged a +10
years reported that their preferenc es had changed
over the same decade. Finally, the analysis re-
vealed a decade × condition interaction (b =
0.07, P <0.001).Althoughthemagnitudeof
the end of history illusion decreased as partic-
ipants got older , it was nonetheless present even
in the oldest group of participants (aged 50 and
up) (b = 0.08, P <0.01).Furtherdiscussionofthis
decade × condition interaction can be found in
supplementary text 5, and additional details about
study 3 can be found in supplementary text 6.
The foregoing studies suggest that people
underestimate the extent to which their person-
alities, values, and preferences will change in the
future. In study 4, we sought to show that this
end of history illusion can have practical conse-
quences. Specifically, we sought to show that be-
cause people overestimate the stability of their
current preferences, they will overpay for future
opportunities to indulge them.
In study 4, we recruited a new sample of 170
adults ranging from 18 to 64 years old (M=
34.9 years, SD = 10.6 years, 52% women) through
the Amazon Mechanical Turk W e b site (8, 9).
Some participants were randomly assigned to
the future concert condition. These participants
were asked to name their current favorite musical
band and then to report the maximum amount
of money they thought they would be willing
to pay today in order to see that band perform in
10 years. Other participants were randomly as-
signed to the present concert condition. These
par t i c i p ant s we r e as k e d to na m e th e mu s i c a l ba n d
that was their favorite 10 years ago and then to
report the amount of money that they thought
they would be willing to pay today to see that
band perform in the coming week.
We performed a regression analysis similar to
the ones performed in studies 1, 2, and 3. First,
the analysis revealed the expected effect of con-
dition (b =0.16,P <0.05).Participantsageda
years thought they would pay 61% more to
see their current favorite band perform 10 years
in the future (M =$129)thanparticipantsaged
a +10yearsthoughttheywouldpaytoseetheir
once-favorite band perform in the present (M =
$80). The analysis revealed no effect of decade
(b = 0.06, P =0.41),indicatingthattheprice
participants thought they would pay did not vary
with age, and no decade × condition interaction
(b =0.01,P =0.94),indicatingthatwillingness
to pay more for a future concert than a present
concert did not diminish in magnitude as partic-
ipants got older . In short, participants substantial-
ly overpaid for a future opportunity to indulge a
current preference.
Across six studies of more than 19,000 par-
ticipants, we found consistent evidence to indi-
cate that people underestimate how much they
will change in the future, and that doing so can
lead to su bop tim al de cis ion s. Al thoug h th e se da ta
cannot tell us what causes the end of history
illusion, two possibilities seem likely. First, most
people believe that their personalities are attract-
ive, their values admirable, and their preferences
wise (10); and having reached that exalted state,
they may be reluctant to entertain the possibilit y
of change. People also like to believe that they
know themselves well (11), and the possibility
of future change may threaten that belief. In short,
people are motivated to think well of themselves
and to feel secure in that understanding, and th e
end of history illusion may help them accomplish
these goals.
Second, there is at least one important differ-
ence between the cognitive processes that allow
people to look forward and backward in time
(12). Prospection is a constructive process, ret -
rospection is a reconstructive process, and con-
structing new things is typically more difficult
than reconstructing old ones (13, 14). The reason
this matters is that people often draw inferences
from the ease with which they can remember or
imagine (15, 16). If people find it difficult to
imagine the ways in which their traits, values, or
preferences will change in the future, they may
assume that such changes are unlikely. In short,
people may confuse the difficulty of imagining
personal change with the unlikelihood of change
itself.
Although the magnitude of this end of his-
tory illusion in some of our studies was greater
for younger people than for older people, it was
nonetheless evident at every stage of adult life
that we could analyze. Both teenagers and grand-
parents seem to believe that the pace of personal
change has slowed to a crawl and that they have
recently become the people they will remain.
History, it seems, is always ending today.
References and Notes
1. S. D. Gosling, P. J. Rentfrow, W. B. Swann Jr., J. Res. Pers.
37,504(2003).
2. B. W. Roberts, K. E. Walton, W. Viechtbauer, Psychol. Bull.
132, 1 (2006).
3. M. E. Lachman, S. L. Weaver, The Midlife Development
Inventory (MIDI) Personality Scales: Scale Construction
and Scoring (Brandeis U niver sity, Wa ltham, MA, 1997).
4. D. K. Mroczek, C. M. Kolarz, J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 75,
1333 (1998).
5. K. M. Prenda, M. E. Lachman, Psychol. Aging 16,206(2001).
6. K. O. McGraw, S. P. Wong, Psychol. Methods 1,30(1996).
7. S. H. Schwartz, in Advances in Experimental Social
Psychology,M.P.Zanna,Ed.(AcademicPress,Orlando,
FL, 1992), vol. 25, pp. 165.
8. G. Paolacci, J. Chandler, P. G. Ipeirotis, Judgm. Decis. Mak.
5,411(2010).
9. M. Buhrmester, T. Kwang, S. D. Gosling, Perspect.
Psychol. Sci. 6,3(2011).
10. C. Sedikides, M. D. Alicke, in The Oxford Handbook of
Human Motivation, R. M. Ryan, Ed. (Oxford Univ. Press,
Oxford), pp. 303322.
11. W. B. Swann Jr., in Handbook of Theories of Social
Psychology, P. Van Lang, A. Kruglanski, E. T. Higgins, Eds.
(Sage, London, 2012), pp. 2342.
12. D. R. Addis, A. T. Wong, D. L. Schacter, Neuropsychologia
45,1363(2007).
13. M. D. Robinson, G. L. Clore, Psychol. Bull. 128,934(2002).
14. M. Ross, Psychol. Rev. 96,341(1989).
15. N. Schwarz et al., J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 61,195(1991).
16. A. Tversky, D. Kahneman, Cognit. Psychol. 5,207(1973).
Acknowledgments: We acknowledge the support of Research
Grant BCS-0722132 from NSF to D.T.G. and T.D.W. Raw
data from all studies are on deposit at the Inter-university
Consortium for Political and Social Research (deposit no. 32668)
and can be accessed at www.icpsr.umich.edu.
Supplementary Materials
www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/339/6115/96/DC1
Supplementary Text
Table S1
24 August 2012; accepted 16 November 2012
10.1126/science.1229294
4JANUARY2013 VOL339 SCIENCE www.sciencemag.org98
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on January 3, 2013www.sciencemag.orgDownloaded from
www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/339/6115/96/DC1
Supplementary Materials for
The End of History Illusion
Jordi Quoidbach, Daniel T. Gilbert,* Timothy D. Wilson
*To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: gilbert@wjh.harvard.edu
Published 4 January 2013, Science 339, 96 (2012)
DOI: 10.1126/science.1229294
This PDF file includes:
Supplementary Text
Table S1
Quoidbach, Gilbert, & Wilson / The End of History Illusion / Page 1
Supplementary Materials
1. “Leurs Secrets du Bonheur” (“Their Secrets of Happiness”) is a French television show that
aired on the channel France 2 from October 2011 to January 2012. It invited viewers to
participate in social science studies at the show’s website. We received permission to place a
link to our studies on that website. Participants who clicked that link were assigned to one of
our studies. Participants were given no financial compensation but were told before
participating that they would receive feedback about their levels of wellbeing when the study
was complete. Participants in Study 1, the follow-ups to Study 1, Study 2, and Study 3 were
recruited via this method. Participants in Study 4 were recruited through the Amazon
Mechanical Turk website.
2. During a first wave of data collection in November, 2011, participants who clicked our link
were randomly assigned to participate in Study 1, a follow-up to Study 1, or Study 3. During
a second wave of data collection in January, 2012, participants who clicked our link were
randomly assigned to participate in a follow-up to Study 1 or Study 2.
3. In addition to the measures described in the manuscript, participants in Study 1, the follow-
ups to Study 1, Study 2, and Study 3 completed numerous other questionnaires for other
research projects (e.g., measures of satisfaction with life, depression, political orientation,
income, etc.).
4. For clarity of presentation, we applied a Gaussian filter to smooth short-term fluctuations and
highlight longer-term trends in Figure 1. A Gaussian filter replaces each value with the
weighted average of neighboring values, and those weights are defined by a Gaussian
function. We set the standard deviation of the Gaussian function to 4 years—with repetition
of the values at both extremities to avoid edge effects—meaning that all low-frequency
fluctuations within a four-year period were smoothed. Figure S1 shows the unfiltered data.
Quoidbach, Gilbert, & Wilson / The End of History Illusion / Page 2
To allow visual comparison of the results across studies, change scores in each study were
transformed into percentages of change. So a score of 100% means the highest possible
change score—that is, going from one extreme of the rating scale to the other for all the
personality traits (Study 1), all the values (Study 2), or indicating that all of one’s preferences
will be different (Study 3). Scores of 0% indicates no change.
5. In Studies 2 and 3—but not in Study 1—the magnitude of the end of history illusion was
larger among younger than older participants. Did the illusion merely diminish among older
participants or did it actually disappear? In all three studies, the illusion was evident when
we analyzed the data from our oldest participants as a group (i.e., predictors who were 50
years and older and reporters who were 60 years and older). Unfortunately, our samples did
not contain a sufficient number of older participants to allow us to conduct meaningful
analyses on participants at every age (see Table S1). More research will be needed to
determine whether the illusion does or does not disappear at the very upper end of the age
continuum.
6. In Study 3, the five preferences questions were originally scored on a 4-point scale from 1
(Certainly the same) to 4 (Certainly different). Although results using this continuous
measure were significant ( condition = -.06, p < .001), we dichotomized the response scale
for the sake of clarity. Also, in addition to asking participants about music, vacations, food,
hobbies, and best friends, we also asked about their favorite movie. We eliminated this item
from the analyses reported in the manuscript because more than 200 participants failed to
complete it, suggesting that people do not find it easy to remember their favorite movie from
a decade ago. In comparison, every participant completed every other item. Including this
item in the analyses reported in the manuscript does not change the significance of the result
( condition = -.12, p < .001).
7. More than 80% of the participants in Study 1, Study 2, and Study 3 were women, so we also
Quoidbach, Gilbert, & Wilson / The End of History Illusion / Page 3
performed regression analyses on men and women separately to ensure that the results were
not limited to a single gender. These analyses revealed an end of history illusion for both
genders. Specifically, analyses of men revealed an effect of condition in Study 1, Study 2,
and Study 3 ( = -.20, p < .001, = -.39, p < .001, and = -.14, p < .001, respectively), and
analyses of women revealed an effect of condition in Study 1, Study 2, and Study 3 ( = -.12,
p < .001, = -.48, p < .001, and = -.20, p < .001, respectively).
The End of History Illusion - 4 -
Table S1. Number of participants (N) by age and condition.
Study 1 Study 2 Study 3 Study 4
Age
Reporters
N
Predictor
N
Reporters
N
Predictor
N
Reporters
N
Predictor
N
Reporters
N
Predictor
N
18 66 82 33 1
19 71 94 27 3
20 96 91 42 4
21 79 109 33 4
22 65 85 44 4
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25 108 116 55 3
26 90 89 29 3
27 98 79 40 4
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31 107 111 123 123 48 63 6 3
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The End of History Illusion - 5 -
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... Bluedorn (2002) observed a future-asymmetry using a temporal depth task: when he asked people to estimate in specific time units what a short-term, mid-term, and long-term future or past is for them, they looked farther into the future than into the past. Other studies have shown that future events are valued more than past events, both economically and emotionally (Buni, 2012;Burns et al., 2019;Caruso, 2010;Caruso et al., 2013;Caruso, Gilbert, & Wilson, 2008;Helzer & Gilovich, 2012;Kristal, O'Brien, & Caruso, 2019;Newby-Clark & Ross, 2003;Quoidbach, Gilbert, & Wilson, 2013;Ross & Newby-Clark, 1998;Van Boven & Ashworth, 2007), and Molouki, Hardisty, & Caruso (2019) found that as temporal distance to the present increased participants discounted past rewards more strongly than future ones. Finally, some studies have also shown that we tend to feel more continuity (similarity) with our future selves than with our past selves (Quoidbach, Gilbert, & Wilson, 2013;Rutt & Löckenhoff, 2016). ...
... Other studies have shown that future events are valued more than past events, both economically and emotionally (Buni, 2012;Burns et al., 2019;Caruso, 2010;Caruso et al., 2013;Caruso, Gilbert, & Wilson, 2008;Helzer & Gilovich, 2012;Kristal, O'Brien, & Caruso, 2019;Newby-Clark & Ross, 2003;Quoidbach, Gilbert, & Wilson, 2013;Ross & Newby-Clark, 1998;Van Boven & Ashworth, 2007), and Molouki, Hardisty, & Caruso (2019) found that as temporal distance to the present increased participants discounted past rewards more strongly than future ones. Finally, some studies have also shown that we tend to feel more continuity (similarity) with our future selves than with our past selves (Quoidbach, Gilbert, & Wilson, 2013;Rutt & Löckenhoff, 2016). ...
Article
Does temporal thought extend asymmetrically into the past and the future? Do asymmetries depend on cultural differences in temporal focus? Some studies suggest that people in Western (arguably future-focused) cultures perceive the future as being closer, more valued, and deeper than the past (a future asymmetry), while the opposite is shown in East Asian (arguably past-focused) cultures. The proposed explanations of these findings predict a negative relationship between past and future: the more we delve into the future, the less we delve into the past. Here, we report findings that pose a significant challenge to this view. We presented several tasks previously used to measure temporal asymmetry (self-continuity, time discounting, temporal distance, and temporal depth) and two measures of temporal focus to American, Spanish, Serbian, Bosniak, Croatian, Moroccan, Turkish, and Chinese participants (total N = 1,075). There was an overall future asymmetry in all tasks except for temporal distance, but the asymmetry only varied with cultural temporal focus in time discounting. Past and future held a positive (instead of negative) relation in the mind: the more we delve into the future, the more we delve into the past. Finally, the findings suggest that temporal thought has a complex underlying structure.
... This would be an example of (self-)shaping -a term borrowed from the instrumental conditioning literature as to the gradual acquisition of competence in complex tasks (Krueger & Dayan, 2009;Skinner, 1975). Unfortunately, we know from research on affective forecasting that people often perform poorly when asked to predict what their affective responses (Gilbert & Wilson, 2007), including aesthetic preferences (Quoidbach et al., 2013) will be in the future. It might be that people are reluctant to countenance such changes, and so will not optimize the stimuli they seek to observe, or that people will fail to take such predicted changes in p T fully into account in making their predictions. ...
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People invest precious time and resources on experiences such as watching movies or listening to music. Yet, we still have a poor understanding of how such sensed experiences gain aesthetic value. We propose a model of aesthetic value that integrates existing theories with literature on conventional primary and secondary rewards such as food and money. We assume that the states of observers' sensory and cognitive systems adapt to process stimuli effectively in both the present and the future. These system states collectively comprise a probabilistic generative model of stimuli in the environment. Two interlinked components generate value: immediate sensory reward and the change in expected future reward. An immediate sensory reward is taken as the fluency with which a stimulus is processed, quantified by the likelihood of that stimulus given an observer's state. The change in expected future reward is taken as the change in fluency with which likely future stimuli will be processed. It is quantified by the change in the divergence between the observer's system state and the distribution of stimuli that the observer expects to see over the long term. Simulations show that a simple version of the model can account for empirical data on the effects of exposure, complexity, and symmetry on aesthetic value judgments. Taken together, our model melds processing fluency theories (immediate reward) and learning theories (change in expected future reward). Its application offers insight as to how the interplay of immediate processing fluency and learning gives rise to aesthetic value judgments. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).
... Sometimes, this is for the better, other times, for the worse. Our intuitions about how we have and will change is filled with errors [e.g., Quoidbach et al. (2013)], yet we have these implicit theories about stability and change nonetheless (Ross, 1989). Implicit theories of trait changes over time entail more than the simple fixed/growth dichotomy [e.g., Dweck (2008)], as traits can evolve in a variety of ways, including a parabolic increase into adulthood and then a decrease into old age, or increasing from childhood but then plateauing, or a U-shaped decrease from childhood into adulthood followed by an increase in old age. ...
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Adults perceive the youth of the present as being worse than from when they were young. This phenomenon has been shown to be a product of a memory bias, adults are unable to accurately recall what children were like in the past so they impose their current selves onto their memories. In two studies using American adults ( N = 2,764), we seek to connect this finding to age, implicit theories of change, and extend the beliefs in the decline of the youth to new domains. Here we show as people age, they hold harsher beliefs about present children. Those who believe a trait does not change throughout the lifespan exhibit more forgiving attitudes toward the youth of today, believing they may not be in such decline on that trait . Finally, people who are low in a negative trait believe strongly that children are becoming more deficient in that particular trait (e.g., those who are not narcissistic believe the youth are becoming more narcissistic).
... In our first study, children specifically mentioned people's ability to change in both experimental conditions, for both negative (Twenty years from now, people will be more immoral, compared to the present moment) and positive perspectives (Twenty years from now, people will be more moral, comparing to the present moment). This may be an interesting research direction for future studies exploring the end-of-history illusion (Quoidbach et al., 2013) and its relation to children's moral perspectives. ...
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The moral licensing literature suggests that representing oneself as moral in the past or the future motivates current immoral behavior. These licensing effects are moderated by psychological distance, which depends, among others, on the concrete vs. abstract nature of the self-representations and temporal distance. Across two studies, we explored these relationships measuring children’s altruism using two prospective moral licensing manipulations that varied on one of these dimensions of psychological distance (i.e., the concreteness of the moral primes) while holding temporal distance constant at its upper end (i.e., distant future). Results revealed higher altruism after imagining distant moral behaviors, contrary to the previous findings in other samples (i.e., adults), but only when concrete primes were used. This suggests that behavioral priming instead of moral licensing is the dominant effect in children in these circumstances due to their lower abstraction abilities.
... It starts with people's everyday experiences of knowing who they are and making choices based on this self-knowledge, predicting that people prefer to act and make FUTURE SELF TO CURRENT ACTION: AN INTEGRATION OF THE EVIDENCE 11 sense of their experiences in ways that feel identity-congruent-like me or "us" things to do. On the one hand, identity feels stable and consequential (Quoidbach et al., 2013). But, to paraphrase William James (1890), thinking (about the self) is for doing. ...
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We comprehensively reviewed and organized the literature examining the relationship between future selves and current action. We distinguish studies focused on possible selves, self-gap, and self-continuity, which focus on different aspects of the future self, make distinct predictions and provide conflicting results. We use the dynamic construction, action-readiness, and procedural-readiness components of identity-based motivation (IBM) theory to make sense of these findings. In doing so, we shift focus from what future me is—positive or negative, close or distant, continuous or discontinuous with current me—to what future me does. We make three predictions regarding when people maintain present-focused action and when they switch to future-focused action. People maintain present-focused action if (1) future me is not on the mind or feels irrelevant to current choices or (2) they understand difficulties taking future-focused action as low value or low odds of success. (3) In contrast, they shift to future-focused action if future me feels relevant to current choices and difficulties taking future-focused action seem to imply the value of doing so.
... It starts with people's everyday experiences of knowing who they are and making choices based on this self-knowledge, predicting that people prefer to act and make FUTURE SELF TO CURRENT ACTION: AN INTEGRATION OF THE EVIDENCE 11 sense of their experiences in ways that feel identity-congruent-like me or "us" things to do. On the one hand, identity feels stable and consequential (Quoidbach et al., 2013). But, to paraphrase William James (1890), thinking (about the self) is for doing. ...
Chapter
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We comprehensively reviewed and organized the literature examining the relationship between future selves and current action. We distinguish studies focused on possible selves, self-gap, and self-continuity, which focus on different aspects of the future self, make distinct predictions and provide conflicting results. We use the dynamic construction, action-readiness, and procedural-readiness components of identity-based motivation (IBM) theory to make sense of these findings. In doing so, we shift focus from what future me is—positive or negative, close or distant, continuous or discontinuous with current me—to what future me does. We make three predictions regarding when people maintain present-focused action and when they switch to future-focused action. People maintain present-focused action if (1) future me is not on the mind or feels irrelevant to current choices or (2) they understand difficulties taking future-focused action as low value or low odds of success. (3) In contrast, they shift to future-focused action if future me feels relevant to current choices and difficulties taking future-focused action seem to imply the value of doing so.
Article
The United States has been waging the “War on Terror” for nearly two decades. Obscured among the more obvious costs of that war is the moral injury borne by many of the soldiers who have fought and participated in it. Unlike post-traumatic stress disorder, which is rooted in fear, moral injury is rooted in shame, shame for having committed a moral transgression, a violation of the moral code. Haunted by the memory of their misdeeds, these soldiers are plagued by all manner of illness and infirmity, from anxiety and depression to substance abuse and suicide. In this article, I explore whether these soldiers have a right to forget, one that would entitle them to use pharmacological or psychological manipulation to cleanse their minds of the memory that they have dirtied their hands, and in that way relieve themselves of the anguish and torment from which they suffer.
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Objectives To conduct an up-to-date systematic review of all randomised controlled trials assessing efficacy of advance care planning (ACP) in improving patient outcomes, healthcare use/costs and documentation. Design Narrative synthesis conducted for randomised controlled trials. We searched electronic databases (MEDLINE/PubMed, Embase and Cochrane databases) for English-language randomised or cluster randomised controlled trials on 11 May 2020 and updated it on 12 May 2021 using the same search strategy. Two reviewers independently extracted data and assessed methodological quality. Disagreements were resolved by consensus or a third reviewer. Results We reviewed 132 eligible trials published between 1992 and May 2021; 64% were high-quality. We categorised study outcomes as patient (distal and proximal), healthcare use and process outcomes. There was mixed evidence that ACP interventions improved distal patient outcomes including end-of-life care consistent with preferences (25%; 3/12 with improvement), quality of life (0/14 studies), mental health (21%; 4/19) and home deaths (25%; 1/4), or that it reduced healthcare use/costs (18%; 4/22 studies). However, we found more consistent evidence that ACP interventions improve proximal patient outcomes including quality of patient–physician communication (68%; 13/19), preference for comfort care (70%; 16/23), decisional conflict (64%; 9/14) and patient-caregiver congruence in preference (82%; 18/22) and that it improved ACP documentation (a process outcome; 63%; 34/54). Conclusion This review provides the most comprehensive evidence to date regarding the efficacy of ACP on key patient outcomes and healthcare use/costs. Findings suggest a need to rethink the main purpose and outcomes of ACP. PROSPERO registration number CRD42020184080.
Chapter
In diesem Kapitel begleiten wir einen Pendler auf dem Nachhauseweg. In der halben Stunde, die er im Stau steht, gehen ihm so einige Dinge durch den Kopf, und dies bietet eine Steilvorlage für die Analyse von kognitiven Effekten im Alltagsleben. Denn derartige Verzerrungen, die auf der intuitiven (und nicht immer korrekten) Einschätzung der Lage basieren, sind keineswegs selten, und vor diesem Hintergrund kommen die ersten 42 von über 300 im Buch diskutierten Fehlleistungen zur Sprache. So konnte der Pendler als Opfer des Planungsfehlschlusses erst zu spät seinen Heimweg antreten, und mit Blick auf sein Verbraucherverhalten betrachtet er sich gegenüber dem Einfluss von Werbung als immun – trotz Framing und Priming, Kognitiver Leichtigkeit und Wiedererkennungsheuristik. Darüber hinaus beschäftigen ihn die Möglichkeiten zur Geldanlage; Aktienprämienrätsel und Verfügbarkeitsverzerrung sind nur zwei Beispiele für damit verbundene Irrtümer. Konservatismusfehlschluss, Verlustaversion und Status-quo-Verzerrung bilden ein Trio infernal, das vielen notwendigen Weiterentwicklungen und Weichenstellungen im Weg steht, die in späteren Kapiteln beleuchtet werden.
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Humanities resource use, energy consumption, economic systems, social structures and overall relationship with the environment is putting our ability to prosper in the future at risk. Humans are innately driven to expand into all accessible habitats and use all available resources. This biological drive has led to overconsumption and overpopulation patterns causing us to exceed four of nine planetary boundaries related to key ecosystem processes that we rely on for a healthy life. Much of the literature places overconsumption and overpopulation as root causes of unsustainability, but the systemic framework centered around endless growth and profit is the true driving force of all ecological and social problems. This capitalistic framework has widened the global income and wealth inequality gap. The top 1% are getting richer as the bottom 50% are getting poorer. This paper discusses systemic solutions to these systemic problems. To address population growth, nine ethical recommendations by Robert Engleman are presented. In order to evolve towards ecological and social justice, democratic-eco socialism is proposed.
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This review organizes a variety of phenomena related to emotional self-report. In doing so, the authors offer an accessibility model that specifies the types of factors that contribute to emotional self-reports under different reporting conditions. One important distinction is between emotion, which is episodic, experiential, and contextual, and beliefs about emotion, which are semantic, conceptual, and decontextualized. This distinction is important in understanding the discrepancies that often occur when people are asked to report on feelings they are currently experiencing versus those that they are not currently experiencing. The accessibility model provides an organizing framework for understanding self-reports of emotion and suggests some new directions for research.
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AIthough intraclass correlation coefficients (lCCs) are commonIy used in behavioral measurement, pychometrics, and behavioral genetics, procodures available for forming inferences about ICC are not widely known. Following a review of the distinction between various forms of the ICC, this article presents procedures available for calculating confidence intervals and conducting tests on ICCs developed using data from one-way and two-way random and mixed-efFect analysis of variance models. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Publisher Summary This chapter addresses the universals in the content and structure of values, concentrating on the theoretical advances and empirical tests in 20 countries, and its four basic issues: substantive contents of human values; identification of comprehensive set of values; extent to which the meaning of particular values was equivalent for different groups of people; and how the relations among different values was structured. Substantial progress has been made toward resolving each of these issues. Ten motivationally distinct value types that were likely to be recognized within and across cultures and used to form value priorities were identified. Set of value types that was relatively comprehensive, encompassing virtually all the types of values to which individuals attribute at least moderate importance as criteria of evaluation was demonstrated. The evidence from 20 countries was assembled, showing that the meaning of the value types and most of the single values that constitute them was reasonably equivalent across most groups. Two basic dimensions that organize value systems into an integrated motivational structure with consistent value conflicts and compatibilities were discovered. By identifying universal aspects of value content and structure, the chapter has laid the foundations for investigating culture-specific aspects in the future.
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Although Mechanical Turk has recently become popular among social scientists as a source of experimental data, doubts may linger about the quality of data provided by subjects recruited from online labor markets. We address these potential concerns by presenting new demographic data about the Mechanical Turk subject population, reviewing the strengths of Mechanical Turk relative to other online and offline methods of recruiting subjects, and comparing the magnitude of effects obtained using Mechanical Turk and traditional subject pools. We further discuss some additional benefits such as the possibility of longitudinal, cross cultural and prescreening designs, and offer some advice on how to best manage a common subject pool.
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Experienced ease of recall was found to qualify the implications of recalled content. Ss who had to recall 12 examples of assertive (unassertive) behaviors, which was difficult, rated themselves as less assertive (less unassertive) than subjects who had to recall 6 examples, which was easy. In fact, Ss reported higher assertiveness after recalling 12 unassertive rather than 12 assertive behaviors. Thus, self-assessments only reflected the implications of recalled content if recall was easy. The impact of ease of recall was eliminated when its informational value was discredited by a misattribution manipulation. The informative functions of subjective experiences are discussed.
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Reports 3 errors in the original article by K. O. McGraw and S. P. Wong (Psychological Methods, 1996, 1[1], 30–46). On page 39, the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and r values given in Table 6 should be changed to r = .714 for each data set, ICC(C,1) = .714 for each data set, and ICC(A,1) = .720, .620, and .485 for the data in Columns 1, 2, and 3 of the table, respectively. In Table 7 (p. 41), which is used to determine confidence intervals on population values of the ICC, the procedures for obtaining the confidence intervals on ICC(A,k) need to be amended slightly. Corrected formulas are given. On pages 44–46, references to Equations A3, A,4, and so forth in the Appendix should be to Sections A3, A4, and so forth. (The following abstract of this article originally appeared in record 1996-03170-003.). Although intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) are commonly used in behavioral measurement, psychometrics, and behavioral genetics, procedures available for forming inferences about ICC are not widely known. Following a review of the distinction between various forms of the ICC, this article presents procedures available for calculating confidence intervals and conducting tests on ICCs developed using data from one-way and two-way random and mixed-effect analysis of variance models. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
It is hypothesized that people possess implicit theories regarding the inherent consistency of their attributes, as well as a set of principles concerning the conditions that are likely to promote personal change or stability. The nature of these theories is discussed in the context of a study of beliefs about life-span development. It is then suggested that people use their implicit theories of self to construct their personal histories. This formulation is used to interpret the results of a wide-ranging set of studies of memory of personal attributes. It is concluded that implicit theories of stability and change can lead to biases in recall. The extent and practical implications of these biases are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Amazon's Mechanical Turk (MTurk) is a relatively new website that contains the major elements required to conduct research: an integrated participant compensation system; a large participant pool; and a streamlined process of study design, participant recruitment, and data collection. In this article, we describe and evaluate the potential contributions of MTurk to psychology and other social sciences. Findings indicate that (a) MTurk participants are slightly more demographically diverse than are standard Internet samples and are significantly more diverse than typical American college samples; (b) participation is affected by compensation rate and task length, but participants can still be recruited rapidly and inexpensively; (c) realistic compensation rates do not affect data quality; and (d) the data obtained are at least as reliable as those obtained via traditional methods. Overall, MTurk can be used to obtain high-quality data inexpensively and rapidly. © The Author(s) 2011.
Article
When time is limited, researchers may be faced with the choice of using an extremely brief measure of the Big-Five personality dimensions or using no measure at all. To meet the need for a very brief measure, 5 and 10-item inventories were developed and evaluated. Although somewhat inferior to standard multi-item instruments, the instruments reached adequate levels in terms of: (a) convergence with widely used Big-Five measures in self, observer, and peer reports, (b) test–retest reliability, (c) patterns of predicted external correlates, and (d) convergence between self and observer ratings. On the basis of these tests, a 10-item measure of the Big-Five dimensions is offered for situations where very short measures are needed, personality is not the primary topic of interest, or researchers can tolerate the somewhat diminished psychometric properties associated with very brief measures.
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This paper explores a judgmental heuristic in which a person evaluates the frequency of classes or the probability of events by availability, i.e., by the ease with which relevant instances come to mind. In general, availability is correlated with ecological frequency, but it is also affected by other factors. Consequently, the reliance on the availability heuristic leads to systematic biases. Such biases are demonstrated in the judged frequency of classes of words, of combinatorial outcomes, and of repeated events. The phenomenon of illusory correlation is explained as an availability bias. The effects of the availability of incidents and scenarios on subjective probability are discussed.