June 19, 2021   8:21am

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Experience versus Memory

 Ever wonder if you remember something the way it really was? 

Well … you probably don’t.  Or at least, that’s what this one Nobel Laureate will tell you — but first, a little background …

Many of you have heard me refer to TED, a remarkable organization focused on “ideas worth spreading”.  At their annual conference in California, a collection of cutting-edge thinkers speak (17 minutes only) about their area of interest.  These speeches are later posted on ted.com.  They are so far ranging — but so worth spreading — that it’s impossible to comment on all of them.  Instead, you’ll find a link here from time-to-time of speeches I think to be most provocative … or compelling … or mind-changing … or of real world use for those of us who may live less lofty lives, but seek more insight.  So, here’s goes:

From the TED conference of a couple of months ago:  Daniel Kahneman led off with some of the cognitive traps that get in the way of our talking realistically about happiness — “The Riddle of Experience versus Memory.”  To quote 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.”

During this speech, don’t click out of the too lengthy colonoscopy research example.  Stick with it.  Then explore how memory versus experience may have impacted your life-changing — and, indeed, day-to-day — decisions.

Next time around, when you’re debating with yourself or arguing with someone else about what you’re sure really happened, think about this speech, and you may reconsider.

Click here to watch the Kahneman TED speech.



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