Counterfactual Thinking as a Means for Personal Improvement

Great information.

Social Cognition 2018

We all have probably wondered to ourselves what we would do with the money if we won the max winnings of a lotto ticket, or how much better our lives would be if we took good care of our health. Counterfactuals are the imaginings of what could’ve been. They’re conditional propositions of how things may have only turned out better, or worse, if something in the past (be it a choice or luck for example) went differently. Historians write entire books under the premise of a single counterfactual, and we may map out our entire futures given how we mentally interact with these thoughts. To reiterate, counterfactuals are thoughts that question how things could have gone, if only x, y, or z happened, and these thoughts are universal across all cultures. Even under Chinese dialects, where there is no equivalent of phrases meaning “if only”, and therefore there is an…

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