#277 – Ignorance is Bliss

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Based on research by Gigerenzer, Gerd., & Garcia-Retamero, Rocio. (2017) written by Bethany Wellman, M.S.

If you had a crystal ball, would you like to see into your future?

European psychologists examined the desire to be ignorant of both future positive events, such as the sex of an unborn baby and negative events, like divorce. From a set of 10 possible events, they surveyed over 2000 people’s interest in knowing the future outcome. They found approximately 87% would not want to know about future negative occurrences, only 55%) wanted to know positive events. How did those wanting to know the future differ from those who didn’t?

Those wanting ignorance were unlikely to take chances and more likely to take precautions, such as purchase insurance. Regret theory suggests, persons who know the future suffer twice, from regret of the future as well as the tragedy itself. Anticipating this “double” suffering, they want to avoid suffering. Their ignorance leads them to take more precautions; remaining ignorant also allows them the pleasure of surprise for positive events. Those with “an ignorance is bliss approach” might take more precautions like wear seatbelts or have health checkups.

This study implies Crystal Ballers have less inclination, and thus might want to prepare for a safer future.

 

Reference:

Gigerenzer, G., & Garcia-Retamero, R. (2017). Cassandra’s Regret: The Psychology of Not Wanting to Know. Psychological Review124(2), 179-196.

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