Chapter4 Homework Cognitive Errors
Counterfactualthinking refers to “the tendency to imagine alternative outcomesthat might have occurred but did not” (P. 125). There are manycases where I have found myself thinking of alternative outcomes to asituation. This paper explores a case where I had counterfactualthinking.
Onone Sunday afternoon, I went to a park next to my home. I carried mycellphone along with me. While in the park, I took a number of photosusing my cellphone and felt good about everything I saw in the park.At around 5.pm, I left the park and headed home. While in my car, Irealized that my cell phone was nowhere. I checked around the car andthere was nothing. I remembered putting it in my pocket, but therewas nothing inside my pocket. I stopped the car and drove back to thepark. While in the park, I checked around where I was seated, andthere was nothing. I even asked the management of the park whether alost cellphone had been reported, but nothing positive came out ofit. Someone could have picked it from my pocket. I asked myself manyquestions. What if I never went to that park? What if I never carriedmy cellphone with me? What if I never used my cellphone to takephotos while in the park? All these questions made me feel terrible.This was an expensive cellphone I bought with all my savings. It tooklong for me to accept that it was gone. I was so disappointed withmyself. I drove back home feeling hopeless and helpless.
Mycase fits into the definition of counterfactual thinking because whenI realized that my cellphone was picked from my pocket, I startedthinking of alternative outcomes that could have happened. I wasimagining of results that were better than whatever happened. Forexample I felt that if I left my cellphone at home, I would not loseit. At some point, I also felt that if I did not go to the park, thenI could not lose my cell phone. I also felt that maybe if I did nottake photos with my cellphone while in the park, nobody would havenoticed it and that would make me not to lose it. My thinkingaffected my behavior in a negative way. I felt hopeless and helplessdue to my thinking. I felt sad about it. I was thinking of situationsthat would have prevented me from losing my cellphone. It is forthis reason that I experienced regret, disappointment, andfrustration.
Ihave carried the guilt and regret of losing my cellphone inside mefor so long. I was not able to correct the faulty thinking rightafter the event. For me going through the chapter on cognitive errorsmade me realize the errors I made in my thinking. I now know thatcounterfactual thinking affects behavior. In future, I would try notto have counterfactual thinking when an event happens. I would alsothink objectively about the event. Thinking about a better outcomethat could have happened, did not help me to accept my loss. Havingan objective thought about my loss would have made a difference.
Kassin,Saul, Fein, Steven, & Markus, Hazel. Socialpsychology 10thed.Cengage: Belmont, CA. 2017.Print.