According to a new study published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, constantly fantasizing about a future trip or purchase may lead to poor decision-making. Somehow, daydreaming makes you cast cons aside and only focus on the pros.
To test their theory, study authors Heather Barry Kappes and and Gabriele Oetinggen of New York University asked people to visualize a future about one of three situations: wearing glamorous high-heeled shoes, taking a vacation, or making money from the stock market. The participants were prompted to think positively about these topics, while a separate control group was asked to think more negatively.
Afterward, the participants were given a choice of getting additional information. They could either read a website that listed their topic’s pros and cons or read five--fake--online reviews. For the first option, researchers wanted to find out how long the participants would spend reading the pros and cons. For the second option, they wanted to find out which reviews the participants would gravitate toward.
In the end, they found out that participants who had positive visualizations preferred to read about the pros rather than the cons of their topic. This implies that people who daydream about what they will one day buy or where they will go may miss some of the more important yet negative facts about their plans. To an extent, their decision-making may be compromised early on. To avoid falling into this trap, researchers suggest that you look at all your plans objectively. While there’s no harm at looking at the positive things, you should also be prepared for anything.
(Photo by YisongYue via Flickr Creative Commons)