Monday, March 23, 2009

Storytelling by others is powerful source of self-knowledge

Such is the conclusion of some research reported in e!Science News. The focus of the research is on how good a predictor other people's experiences might be upon our own decisions affecting future happiness. The money quote that reinforces the importance of storytelling is:

"People do not realize what a powerful source of information another person's experience can be," says Gilbert, "because they mistakenly believe that everyone is remarkably different from everyone else. But the fact is that an alien who knew all the likes and dislikes of a single human being would know a great deal about the species. People believe that the best way to predict how happy they will be in the future is to know what their future holds, but what they should really want to know is how happy those who've been to the future actually turned out to be."

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