The Human Mind

Published: 2021-06-29 06:53:36
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Category: American History

Type of paper: Essay

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How interesting would be if we could keep track of how the human mind thinks and then be able to predict our future happiness? That is certainly a topic that catches a lot of people's attention and has been discussed and studied during the last few years. The idea of studying surrogates and then being able to predict the future of other person with similar characteristics is good but it is way more complicated than it sounds, first of all, because the human mind is very complex and each person is unique, making it basically impossible to make an accurate prediction.
Daniel Gilbert in his work "Reporting Live from Tomorrow" talks about surrogates and how useful they can be to predict people's happiness. Surrogates are regular people used to study how the human mind and imagination works, in order to be able to predict future feelings about other people with similar characteristics. For example; we can use a professor as a surrogate and ask him how he feels about preparing his students for an upcoming exam; or we can ask a basketball player, how he would feel hitting the game-winner shot. We can also use a random person and ask how he would feel if he could eat his favorite food. Based on the surrogates answers and test results, they say we are able to predict how similar people will feel in similar situations.
In order to explain how surrogates work, Daniel Gilbert gives an example about a group of volunteers (surrogates) that were asked to predict how they would feel receiving a prize after doing a boring task. The volunteers did not know what the prize was so their prediction would have to be based in reports done by another group of volunteers (reporters that had done the same boring task before) about how they felt. According to Gilbert, the surrogates made much more accurate predictions than the reporters. This happened because "These surrogators did know that someone who had received that prize had been less ecstatic at the conclusion of the boring task. So they shrugged and reasoned that they too would feel less than ecstatic at the conclusion of the boring task" (Gilbert, 179).
Who would be the ideal surrogate? Since surrogates are used as an example to predict other people's future feelings, we have many options; it depends on the person we want to use the prediction on. If we are willing to predict how happy a student would be if he gets a very good grade after working really hard for it, we can use a group of students that studied a lot for a test and did well as surrogates. If we want to know how happy a celebrity would be for winning the Oscar, we can use a celebrity that has already won it as surrogate. It is hard to pick an ideal surrogate because each person has different characteristics, jobs, goals and likes. It would be very hard to have a real surrogate for each case and scenario but we can have an imaginary one. We can analyze the situation and create the right surrogate for it in order to make more accurate predictions. For example, if we are talking to a professional soccer athlete in the day before one of the biggest games of his/her career, we could imagine how they would feel if they win/lose and create an imaginary surrogate for it.
Surrogates may seem like a very accurate way to predict people's feelings but it is way more complicated than it looks. What makes predicting future feelings so complicated? The answer for this question is simple; the human mind. The human mind is unique and a proof for this statement is the imagination. Do a simple test; give a group of people a description about a random man and just say he is dressed in popular brand clothes. Now ask them to imagine this random person next to them and ask them to describe it. Some people will describe the man as being taller or shorter than they are; having blond or dark hair, blue, green or dark eyes; wearing Nike or Adidas pants, Raulph Lauren or a Calvin Klein shirt. The color and the brand of the clothes will be different too. Different people have different reactions to the same situation, even if they have a common job, lifestyle and stuff they like. Only because I like the same kind of stuff my surrogate does, it does not mean that I will feel the same way about it. I can feel happier if it means more to me, or

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