You’ll change more than I will: Adults' predictions about their own and others' future preferences

Louis Renoult, Leia Kopp, Patrick S. R. Davidson, Vanessa Taler, Cristina M. Atance

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It has been argued that adults underestimate the extent to which their preferences will change over time. We sought to determine whether such mis-predictions are the result of a difficulty imagining that one’s own current and future preferences may differ or whether it also characterizes our predictions about the future preferences of others. We used a perspective- taking task in which we asked young people how much they liked stereotypically-young-person items (e.g., Top 40 music, adventure vacations) and stereotypically-old-person items (e.g., jazz, playing bridge) now, and how much they would like them in the distant future (i.e., when they are 70 years old). Participants also made these same predictions for a generic same-age, same-sex peer. In a third condition, participants predicted how much a generic older (i.e., age 70) same-sex adult would like items from both categories today. Participants predicted less change between their own current and future preferences than between the current and future preferences of a peer. However, participants estimated that, compared to a current older adult today, their peer would like stereotypically-young items more in the future and stereotypically-old items less. The fact that peers’ distant-future estimated preferences were different from the ones they made for “current” older adults suggests that even though underestimation of change of preferences over time is attenuated when thinking about others, a bias still exists.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-309
Number of pages11
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number2
Early online date25 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Future thinking
  • Projection bias
  • Presentism bias
  • Self
  • Other
  • Aging

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