The Effects Of Counterfactual Thinking

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Have you ever thought what if I had tried harder then I would have succeeded? Most likely you have and that is known as counterfactual thinking. Counterfactual thinking is the theory of what could have been. We tend to correlate our failures with counterfactual thinking. For example, if we had studied harder on that test and not gone out that night we might have gotten an A on the test not a B. We can also look at counterfactual thinking in a positive way and how that helps us in our lives. In order to learn more about counterfactual thinking we will look at five academic journals that provide others insight on the theory. In a few of the articles we look at the relationship between athletes and counterfactual thinking. What the effects are …show more content…
Our counterfactual thoughts can be rooted in who we are and how we act. “Counterfactual thoughts are deeply connected to goals and emotions (Estate and Roese, 2008 and Roese, 1997) and personality characteristics that correspond to these functions are likely to have an important role in counterfactual generation.” (Allen and Jones 2014). So as we grow our counterfactual thoughts reflect who we are. According to this article, “There is evidence that people with high self-esteem or greater levels of optimism tend to generate more downward counterfactuals, and people with low self-esteem or greater levels of pessimism tend to generate more upward counterfactuals (Roese and Olson, 1993 and Sanna, 1996). In addition to optimism and self-esteem effects, other components of personality such as impulsivity (Schmidt & Van der Linden, 2009), depressive symptoms (Markman & Miller, 2006), and perfectionism (Sirois, Monforton, & Simpson, 2010) have each been linked to the direction, magnitude and/or content of counterfactual thoughts.” (Allen and Jones 2014). So when looking at personality we can see that counterfactual thinking actually does have a direct relationship with it. This being said we can now take this knowledge and put it into practice in our daily …show more content…
Counterfactual thinking is still applied and still used in our society for many reasons. For example, we use it when making everyday decisions such as when we fail a test because we tell ourselves well if I had studied harder I could have gotten a better grade. Another example of a bigger decisions would be in our relationships. If we are in a committed relationship and we are not yet engaged yet and our ex is engaged, we can start to have what could have been thoughts. We can think if we were still with them I could be engaged now. I choose this topic because it a theory that I can relate to because I know that do counterfactual thinking all the time. I tell myself well if I had gone to a different college then I would have different friends and would those friends be better or worse than what I have now? Lots like this consume my mind. Counterfactual thinking is not always a negative thing though because it can bring good out of it because we look back on our life and the decisions we have made and we understand that those choices just made us stronger. The theory of counterfactual thinking is such a key aspect in our lives and one that we can all take note

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