Tag Archive | "Timothy D. Wilson"

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The Feeling of Uncertainty Intensifies Affective Reactions


Uncertainty enhances our experiences, making the pleasant experiences more pleasant and the unpleasant even more unpleasant. This has been demonstrated in a series of studies by Bar-Anan, Wilson, & Gilbert (2009) in which feelings of uncertainty were shown to heighten positive and negative experiences respectively. This the authors claim to be the first studies to show that uncertainty intensifies affective reactions (our positive and negative experiences).

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The Surprising Power of Neighborly Advice


“Our neighbor’s experience can provide greater insight than our own best guess.” (Gilbert, Killingsworth, Eyre, & Wilson, 2009, p. 1619) In other words, another person sharing their first hand experiences (surrogation), helps us to make better predictions than our own best guess (simulation) of how we will feel when experiencing the same event. At the same time,  all participants believed that simulation would be superior to surrogation, even after it had failed them. Read the full story

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Anticipating One’s Troubles

Our emotional well-being benefits when we have positive expectations and suffers when we have negative expectations. This holds true irregardless of the actual out come of the anticipated turn out of events. Prior to knowing how things will turn out, positive expectations generate a pleasant state of savoring while negative expectations generate an unpleasant state of dreading what is to come. Read the full story

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Misconception of Memory Recollection

In this study Daniel Gilbert and Timothy Wilson (2009) together with other researchers have demonstrated that when we anticipate an upcoming event as important, we are more motivated to remember and build stronger and more lasting memories of it. On the other hand if the sense of importance is only established in retrospect, the motivation that helps establish the memories is weak or missing, and we are much less likely to remember the past. Read the full story

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Timothy Wilson

Timothy D. WilsonTimothy D. Wilson, PhD
Sherrell J. Aston Professor of Psychology
Department of Psychology (Social)
University of Virginia

e-mail: tdw[at]virginia.edu

RESEARCH INTERESTS: affective forecasting, positive psychology, Read the full story

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