Imagining the Future Invokes Your Memory

Scientific American:

I remember my retirement like it was yesterday. As I recall, I am still working, though not as hard as I did when I was younger. My wife and I still live in the city, where we bicycle a fair amount and stay fit. We have a favorite coffee shop where we read the morning papers and say hello to the other regulars. We don’t play golf.

In reality, I’m not even close to retirement. This is just a scenario I must have spun out at some point in the past. There are other future scenarios, but the details aren’t all that important. Notably, all of my futures have a peaceful and contented feel to them. They don’t include any financial or health problems, nor do they include boredom—not for me or anyone else I know.

A new study from the January issue of Psychological Science may explain why we are all so optimistic about what’s to come. The authors report that people tend to remember imagined future scenarios that are happy better than they recall the unhappy ones.

Read the whole story: Scientific American

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