The riddle of experience vs. memory | Daniel Kahneman



http://www.ted.com Using examples from vacations to colonoscopies, Nobel laureate and founder of behavioral economics Daniel Kahneman reveals how our “experiencing selves” and our “remembering selves” perceive happiness differently. This new insight has profound implications for economics, public policy — and our own self-awareness.

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Featured speakers have included Al Gore on climate change, Philippe Starck on design, Jill Bolte Taylor on observing her own stroke, Nicholas Negroponte on One Laptop per Child, Jane Goodall on chimpanzees, Bill Gates on malaria and mosquitoes, Pattie Maes on the “Sixth Sense” wearable tech, and “Lost” producer JJ Abrams on the allure of mystery. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, development and the arts. Closed captions and translated subtitles in a variety of languages are now available on TED.com, at http://www.ted.com/translate. Watch a highlight reel of the Top 10 TEDTalks at http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/top10

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49 thoughts on “The riddle of experience vs. memory | Daniel Kahneman

  • September 25, 2017 at 12:22 am
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    A Box of Memories
    Yesterday I lived the past,
    I yearned and yearned for it to last
    But oh, how time will not stand still,
    It surges on against the will.

    Your dreams your scenes of yester year,
    They waft they flow so crystal clear,
    You almost hear the voices sound,
    You stand, you wait, you look around.

    But oh, the surging heartbeat quells
    Neath the blackbird’s song and summer smells,
    You journey on in ecstasy
    You realise, it’s just a box of memories.

    Christy 1922-2005

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  • September 25, 2017 at 12:22 am
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    This is really good….I now see why I don't feel happy despite having a great life now…I am burdened by my remembering self!

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  • September 25, 2017 at 12:22 am
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    This was an awesome talk the only problem that I had with it is how and I noticed this is a phenomenon in America and I find it sad because I agree totally that happiness is rated economically but we're taught this and have been for many years this needs to change I know he said they're talking about it but that's all they're doing the American people need to stand up and say enough of the greed we have the ability to find happiness we just can't do it as long as we're watching The Kardashians and others like it

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  • September 25, 2017 at 12:22 am
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    Loved it. One thing though, if we're going to get technical: since we can't be aware of the psychological present until it's loaded into our memory and registered in consciousness, perhaps we should distinguish "the experiencing self" and "the remembered self" instead as the self based on recently loaded and still-activated memory, versus memory now dormant
    but still retrievable into the focus of attention? (The last bit is VERY Kahnemanian!)

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  • September 25, 2017 at 12:22 am
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    I thought this was a very interesting talk but if I understood the question at the end correctly, taking away peoples money (i.e. taxation) because it *air quotes* doesn't make them any happier in the moment. *end air quotes* Is ridiculous. If it doesn't matter then why do you want to take their money? Sounds like it matters to you and therefore it does matter. This opens up an entire debate on the pursuit of riches and the positive change that motivation can bring to a person. I would like to be free to pursue the "American Dream" of working hard, becoming wealthy, and choosing to do what I wish concerning the fruit of my labors. The poor are welcome to pursue the same dream.

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  • September 25, 2017 at 12:22 am
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    This was such a beatiful speach really, it made me think of experiences i had and i was happy durring like literaly during the time happening but i had kind iffy memories because something bad happend in the end…so anyway i came to conclusion that it was actualy good time and it should be a happy memorie and i should try to replicate it.Kinda hard to explain, but this video helped me and made me wonder did it influence someone else this way?Hope you understand haha

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  • September 25, 2017 at 12:22 am
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    Thanks for the differentiation. If I may, I will say the experiencing self is independent of physiological memory which is subject to bias and ageing effects. Th experiencing self is always happy – blissful regardless of external circumstances. These differences would be measurable by EEGs or fMRI scans of brains of subjects. This experiment will quantify the differences.
    Thanks for reading my comments.

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  • September 25, 2017 at 12:22 am
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    At 16:21' it should have been "Well, their remembering self is not going to get happier", NOT "Well, their experiencing self is not going to get happier".

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  • September 25, 2017 at 12:22 am
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    im trying to get into psychology and am interested in how people's brains react in different situations or emotions, any books or videos recommended?

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  • September 25, 2017 at 12:22 am
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    What is the difference between thinking you are happy and being happy then?
    Perception is reality, isn't it?

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  • September 25, 2017 at 12:22 am
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    at 14:56. The bottom line of what I've said here is that we really should not think of happiness as a substitute for well-being. It is a completely different notion.

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  • September 25, 2017 at 12:22 am
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    Very interesting. Something I haven't thought in depth about, but I bet I will be regularly now. I do hope this topic gets more attention sometime. It makes me wonder if it had back when this video was uploaded if it would have made a difference in the problems going on in America right now.

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  • September 25, 2017 at 12:22 am
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    Does anyone know if Daniel got a lot of poon when he was younger?

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  • September 25, 2017 at 12:22 am
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    Is remembering self what we call 'awareness' that is free of time and place boundaries? Do we remember 'emotionally charged meaningful events good or bad' more than emotionally flat neutral events? I agree the happiness of the remembering 'self aware' self that is making a journey thru time to fulfill its promise/purpose/potential is what ultimately matters.

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  • September 25, 2017 at 12:22 am
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    This is essentially what Aristotle said (amongst so much else that smart dude got right).  The experiencing self's 'happiness' is aesthetic while that of the reflecting self also involves the ethical (i.e. how 'right' was it?).  Socrates said that it only involved the ethical, and Kahneman implies this, too.  However, Aristotle was right (again). There is still an element of the aesthetic embedded in the ethical happiness of the reflected self.  One feels satisfied the colonoscopy was the right thing to do but one may also recollect spontaneously the pain of it (or rather one's aesthetic discomfort at the pain).

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  • September 25, 2017 at 12:22 am
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    He could of summed it all up with perception is everything. It determines how happy a person is in case

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  • September 25, 2017 at 12:22 am
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    Here is a quote regarding JOhn Von Neumann, "Two bicyclists start twenty miles apart and head toward each other, each going at a steady rate of 10 mph. At the same time a fly that travels at a steady 15 mph starts from the front wheel of the southbound bicycle and flies to the front wheel of the northbound one, then turns around and flies to the front wheel of the southbound one again, and continues in this manner till he is crushed between the two front wheels. Question: what total distance did the fly cover? The slow way to find the answer is to calculate what distance the fly covers on the first, northbound, leg of the trip, then on the second, southbound, leg, then on the third, etc., etc., and, finally, to sum the infinite series so obtained. The quick way is to observe that the bicycles meet exactly one hour after their start, so that the fly had just an hour for his travels; the answer must therefore be 15 miles. When the question was put to von Neumann, he solved it in an instant, and thereby disappointed the questioner: "Oh, you must have heard the trick before!" "What trick?" asked von Neumann, "All I did was sum the geometric series." It's clear then that certain solutions are best developed with less conscious deliberation, rather the ability to automatically attract distant ideas into some novel permutation, and then upon a slight moment of reflection, realize there is something useful there.

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  • September 25, 2017 at 12:22 am
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    He deserves no applause. He's completely biased against intuition, and it's value towards reasoning and creativity. His only goal is to inflate the value of analysis.

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  • September 25, 2017 at 12:22 am
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    which means it is not the happiness that we lack or what not but the perception of happiness about life that we hold.
    from this i think increasing minimum wages will not make people's quality of life better but it is only a trick to calm the mob down.

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  • September 25, 2017 at 12:22 am
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    This guy is a fraud, who deserves to be stripped of his merits. He has a strong bias against any notion that non-analytical components, intuitive ability/heuristics, are important to reason and intelligence – he only considers these to be sources of error   Gerd Gigerenzers work is very well backed, and shows how intuition is involved in complex problems.

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  • September 25, 2017 at 12:22 am
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    12:55 Isn't that something Marcel Proust talked in detail in his book In search of lost time that more than the person himself / herself its the memory of him / her we're in love with? Certainly looking forward to reading Thinking fast and slow.

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  • September 25, 2017 at 12:22 am
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    Conman is the sort of cowardly proponent of the analytic, always glorifying the value of linear thought, and the function of short-term memory – receiving praises only from a public with an already inflated sense of intellectual worth (IQ theory). It remains so, the greatest philosophers of mind have always supported intuition and the freedom in selecting elements of thought (Von Neumann called it art), while the laymen will always cower behind analysis, as if it somehow makes up for their lack of worldly achievements. Very few minds in Western societies today, given the presence of the biases against intuition, heuristic, and creative thought, can flourish, but still the evidence of the powers of intuition prevails, thought most often, in the one in a million types, who come to change the world.

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  • September 25, 2017 at 12:22 am
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    Now here's a question: How does knowing the "fact" that the remembering-self overcomes the experiencing-self impact the process of analyzing past memories and storing new ones? Would it destroy lots of our good memories and create feelings of contempt, realizing that we were fooled at the end of the experience, as +jlc012 put it, or would we still embrace and cherish those memories? And would we be aware of the impact of the final moments of an experience at the time and somehow resist the growing gap between the two selves? And if so, how would that impact all the visions envisioned for our policies?

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  • September 25, 2017 at 12:22 am
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    Now we have clear evidence why the Nobel in economics is not  given by the Nobel Prize Committee.  Self, memory — the level of incoherence and assertion on display is astounding.

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  • September 25, 2017 at 12:22 am
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    Brilliant. But Buddhist philosophers have been talking about this for 2500 years.

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  • September 25, 2017 at 12:22 am
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    Now I know why those fuckers at disney spend millions in incredible fireworks shows with heart warming music just before they close the park. They know that your remembering self will soon forget the incredibly long lines, overpriced merchandise, sore feet, etc.  And all that will remain is that last memory when everything was magical if only for that brief moment. And you will keep coming back for more.

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  • September 25, 2017 at 12:22 am
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    It could be in our genes that which makes the remembering self highlight the highs and lows and discard any experience in between.  I mean there is a clear survival advantage to that. The highs in order to be more satisfied with ones decisions whatever the circumstance and avoid unbearable anguish, which promotes determination and will to survive among other things,  and the lows to avoid potentially dangerous situations that "must" be avoided. In modern times it is one of those evolutionary vestiges that we should try to keep in mind in order to live better, happier lives. In my opinion there is nothing more important than seeking satisfaction in your experience in the present, however hard it may be. 

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  • September 25, 2017 at 12:22 am
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    All is well that ends well; all is bad that ends bad. Romantic relationships are the quintessential example of this.

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