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Functional and Dysfunctional Aspects of Counterfactual Thoughts Seminar

Time:
16:00 - 17:00
Date:
23 May 2013
Venue:
Building 44 (Shackleton) Room 3095 University of Southampton Highfield Campus Southampton SO17 1BJ

For more information regarding this seminar, please telephone Allyson Marchi on 02380 599645 or email A.Marchi@soton.ac.uk .

Event details

Thoughts about what might have been are a unique capacity of human thought. They help to gain insight in previous mishaps and shape future behavior. In the present talk I will argue that counterfactual thoughts influence affect and behaviour.

 Thoughts about what might have been are a unique capacity of human thought. They help to gain insight in previous mishaps and shape future behavior. In the present talk I will argue that counterfactual thoughts influence affect and behavior. I will outline a number of experimental studies that specifically test how this type of thoughts is linked to a specific behavior in a functional manner. However, counterfactuals do not only have a positive side. When occurring excessively or centering on events that cannot be changed anymore they tend to exert a dysfunctional effect. The latter point will be illustrated by experimental evidence as well as a recent correlational study among HIV patients. Both aspects of counterfactual thoughts are discussed in relation to an integrative view on counterfactual thoughts and emotions.

Speaker information

Dr Kai Epstude, University of Groningen, Netherlands. Dr Epstude's current research interests centre around the broad question of how goals influence our feelings and behavior. Specifically, he's exploring goal-related aspects of counterfactual thinking and regret. In addition he's working on a implicit learning-based framework for the adoption of social norms. Other research interests include the mental representation of the self in intergroup contexts, and the related question of how group contexts shape our affective experience.

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