Description

Declinism is the tendency to believe that the worst is to come. I’m sure you have heard someone say something along the lines of “Remember the good old days?” Declinism is this negative bias that influences people to view the future of our society negatively while having a positive outlook on the past. Findings have suggested that we tend to remember the positive outcomes of our life from our early childhood/young adults more than the negative outcomes. Therefore, some people tend to see their past as more favourable than the uncertain future.

Example

2/3 of Americans are pessimistic about the future, and nostalgic about the past. While there are certainly problems in American society and reasonable concerns about the future, there are objective increases in education, standard of living, equality, life expectancy, and more. However, people still believe that the past was better and the future will be worse, despite the trend of improvement.

Further Reading

The Decision Lab

The Decision Lab is a think tank focused on creating positive impact in the public and private sectors by applying behavioral science.

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