What If? Counterfactual Curiosity, with Lily FitzGibbon

“With counterfactual curiosity, we have a particular interest with our own choices and our own actions — and their consequences.” ~ Lily FitzGibbon

Have you ever felt a burning desire to know what might have been, had you chosen a different course of action? That’s “counterfactual curiosity” — the desire to know about possible alternative outcomes — and it can sometimes cause us pain and regret.

So why have it?

Dr. Lily FitzGibbon helps me understand better.

Lily investigates cognitive, behavioural and emotional responses to uncertain situations, including information seeking, decision making, and counterfactual thinking in children and adults. When we spoke for this interview, she was a postdoctoral research fellow at the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences at the University of Reading (UK); she’s now a lecturer in psychology at the University of Stirling.

Listen to Choose to be Curious #145: What If? Counterfactual Curiosity, with Lily FitzGibbon

More about Lily FitzGibbon’s research here. And this is the article that caught my eye about people’s willingness to incur a cost to experience regret

Our theme and other music are by Sean Balick.

I am honored that Choose to be Curious has been selected as the 2021 Best Informational Talk Show in Community Radio by the Alliance for Community Media’s annual Hometown Media Awards. Please check out other winners and support community media!

This episode first aired don WERA in June 2021. It has been refreshed, April 2023.

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