Tag Archives: experience

Kahneman on the experiencing self vs. the remembering self

In this TED video, Psychologist Daniel Kahneman discusses three problems with current discussions of happiness:

1. The concept of happiness is more complex than we assume.

2. We confuse the experiencing self and the remembering self.

3. The focusing illusion makes us distort the importance of any circumstance that influences happiness.


The two selves

The experiencing self lives in the moment. She doesn’t care about money, so long as she has a baseline amount (which seems to be about $60,000 a year in income). She is happiest when she spends time with people she cares about and pursues goals.

The remembering self keeps the story of our lives. She cares about changes, significant moments, and endings. A rotten ending can destroy the memory of a whole experience, even if it was otherwise okay. The remembering self does care about how much money she has — the more, the better.