I generally believe that we learn from experience. However, a recent study I did with Karlene Hanko repeats a finding from Kahneman and Snell, that people are very poor at predicting how their liking will change for a new product (in our case, two new foods and two new body products) after using it for a week. We predicted that the parents of our college undergraduates would be better than their children at predicting their hedonic trajectory, but 25 more years of self experience did nothing for them. Nor for me. Every night, I bring home a pile of work to do in the evening and early morning. I have been doing this for over 50 years. I always think I will actually get through all or most of it, and I almost never get even half done. But I keep expecting to accomplish it all. What a fool I am.
Paul Rozin is Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania where he also acts as co-director of the school's Solomon Asch Center for the Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict.
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