Summary of The Riddle of Experience vs. Memory

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The Riddle of Experience vs. Memory summary
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According to behavioral economist Daniel Kahneman, memories skew perceptions of happiness, and brief moments within experiences can distort memories. This bias, he explains, stems from the vast difference between the “experiencing self” and the “remembering self,” which many people – including scientific researchers – confuse. getAbstract believes those pursuing happiness will find some clarity in Kahneman’s captivating lecture.

About the Speaker

Daniel Kahneman is a behavioral psychologist and author of the bestseller Thinking, Fast and Slow. He won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2002.



Happiness is currently a hot research topic. Yet three “cognitive traps” hinder clear analysis of happiness. First, people apply the word “happiness” across a broad spectrum of feelings, diluting its definition until it becomes almost meaningless. Second, individuals fail to differentiate between experience and memory: being happy in your life versus being happy about or with your life. Third, humans suffer a “focusing illusion” that amplifies the importance of anything affecting their well-being.

A man listened to a magnificent symphony, but it ended with a loud screech. He claimed the screech had ruined his experience of the music...

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