Experiments show why we are obsessed with what happens if we make other decisions
What would happen if you took that bus? Will your luck change if you are with that person? Should you choose other products?
Making a decision is difficult and requires mental effort. Most importantly, because we tortured ourselves afterwards, think about what will happen if we go the other way.This phenomenon is called Counterfactual curiosity, Obsessed with “what should be”.
A kind Study at the University of Reading In the UK, it analyzed the extent to which this behavior attracted us. Researchers conducted different experiments on more than 400 people, and they found that although the results we found made us feel sad, we still couldn’t help thinking about the possibility of taking other actions.
How far will you go to find out what happened?
For the counterfactual curiosity test, a classic game that measures the attractiveness of risk is used. Volunteers are placed in front of the computer, playing a kind of game, you have to blow up the balloon.
The more you press the button, the more the balloon will inflate, and the higher your reward will be. However, the balloon has a randomly assigned boundary and explodes above it. If the balloons explode, they will have no return.
This is the first test proposed by the “Reading” researchers, and allows several attempts, for a total of 150 people. In each test, the participants determined the degree of balloon inflation one by one. Afterwards, show them whether the balloon has exploded or is still inflating.
After knowing the results, participants must disclose whether they are happy or sad about it. Next, they were given the opportunity to find counterfactual information, that is, to know how far they can inflate the balloon to get a bigger reward.
After knowing this information, each participant was asked whether their results were good or bad to see if their emotional state changed.
In different experiments, the cost of receiving counterfactual information was modified: it was free, some points were removed, manual labor was involved, or test time was reduced.
Curiosity is endless
In all experiments, participants found that they felt more uncomfortable knowing that they could inflate the balloon more and get a greater return. The more they lose, the greater their grief.
According to the researchers, this is due to regret, and negative emotions are generated when comparing the results obtained with the better results obtained by taking different actions.
The possibility of repentance motivates our decision
A kind University of Illinois ResearchThe United States pointed out that repentance can also inspire our decision-making. This may explain why participants who read the study took more risk in their next attempt.
In addition, despite their sadness, the participants did not stop being interested in counterfactual information. They want to know how far the balloon will stay in 46% of the tests that remain inflated, even if it has a cost.
Participants spent their scores in 18% of the experiments to receive counterfactual information. Similarly, they did not stop trying when they got the physical strength needed for the information.
A single dose of paracetamol puts you at more risk
In order to verify whether the participants were out of counterfactual curiosity, rather than because they wanted to know clues about how to play the game better, and thus hope to obtain more information, the researchers conducted the same test with 361 others. The difference from the previous experiment is that this experiment only contains one attempt.
The results of the two tests show that it is difficult for people to resist knowing what will happen if they choose other options. Counterfactual curiosity exposes people to information, which not only makes them feel sad, but also makes them take more risks.