In a series of studies, Elizabeth Cowley (University of Sydney) examines repeat gambling in the face of loss. She finds that people often engage in too much positive thinking, selectively focusing on one win among hundreds of losses when they think back on the overall experience.
“When we want to justify engaging in an activity which could potentially be irresponsible – like gambling – we may need to distort our memory of the past to rationalize the decision,” Cowley explains. “People who have frequently spent more money than planned on gambling edit their memories of the past in order to justify gambling again.”
For example, Cowley had participants in one study play a computer game in which they could win credits with the financial equivalent of one cent per credit. Each participant played the game 300 times. Everyone experienced one big win and one big loss. But for the other 298 games, one half of the group experienced all small losses, while the other experienced all small wins.
Cowley also manipulated the distance between the big win and the big loss.
A week later, participants were surveyed for their memories of the experience. Surprisingly, Cowley found that even some losers remembered having a positive experience. If the big win and the big loss occurred far apart, losers had fond memories and indicated a willingness to spend their own money on the game.
As Cowley explains, the further apart the big win and the big loss, the easier it was for losers to isolate their memories and focus only on the positive, a “silver lining” effect.
“The tendency to segregate positive and negative events in a mixed-loss experience is based on the logic that remembering a large gain allows people to feel good even when the objective outcome was negative,” Cowley says.
Conversely, Cowley found that winners – those who experienced 298 small wins – were happier when the big win and the big loss were closer together, allowing them to lump all the games together and ignore the big loss. She termed this the “cancellation effect.”
“When the outcome of an experience including both positive and negative events results in a net gain, people look for ways to integrate positive and negative events to reduce, if not cancel, the pain associated with the negative events,” Cowley explains.
The research is the first to consider a motivated memory explanation for justifying irresponsible behavior. Apparently, positive thinking can sometimes be negative.
Elizabeth Cowley, “The Perils of Hedonic Editing.” Journal of Consumer Research: June 2008.
Suzanne Wu | EurekAlert!
Study relating to materials testing Detecting damages in non-magnetic steel through magnetism
23.07.2018 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.
The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...
New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference
Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
17.08.2018 | Event News
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
21.08.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
21.08.2018 | Life Sciences
21.08.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering