From palm readers to ouija boards, humans have long tried to predict the future. Too bad we’re terrible at it.
How satisfied will you be with your life in the future? A study posed that question to 3,793 American adults ages 27 to 74, then asked them again roughly a decade later. 48 percent of participants overestimated their life satisfaction, while 22 percent underestimated it. According to Andrew Reed, PhD, a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford’s Lifespan Development Lab, the findings are consistent with a larger truth about future forecasting, one that comes up in study after study: We’re terrible at predicting how our decisions will make us feel.