A lot of this will be review and is repeated elsewhere on the site, but I thought it was high time I pulled things together into a one-stop-anti-headdress shop.
Overview[ edit ] The term "Counterfactual" is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as contrary to the facts. A person may imagine how an outcome could have turned out differently, if the antecedents that led to that event were different. For example, a person may reflect upon how a car accident could have turned out by imagining how some of the factors could have been different, for example, If only I hadn't been speeding These alternatives can be better or worse than the actual situation, and in turn give improved or more disastrous possible outcomes, If only I hadn't been speeding, my car wouldn't have been wrecked or If I hadn't been wearing a seatbelt, I would have been killed.
Ideas that create a more negative outcome are downward counterfactuals and those thoughts that create a more positive outcome are considered upward counterfactuals.
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They can also affect how they view social situations, such as who deserves blame and responsibility. Byrne in The Rational Imagination: How People Create Alternatives to Reality proposed that the mental representations and cognitive processes that underlie the imagination of alternatives to reality are similar to those that underlie rational thought, including reasoning from counterfactual conditionals.
More recently, counterfactual thinking has gained interest from a psychological perspective. Cognitive scientists have examined the mental representations and cognitive processes that underlie the creation of counterfactuals.
Although negative affect and biases arise, the overall benefit is positive for human behavior. First, there is the activation portion. This activation is whether we allow the counterfactual thought to seep into our conscious thought.
The second portion involves content. This content portion creates the end scenario for the antecedent. It is believed that humans tend to think of counterfactual ideas when there were exceptional circumstances that led to an event, and thus could have been avoided in the first place.
We also tend to create counterfactual ideas when we feel guilty about a situation and wish to exert more control. For example, in a study by Davis et al.
In the case of a death of natural causes, parents tended to counterfactual think to a lesser extent over the course of time. This is especially true when there is a negative outcome that was this close to a positive outcome.
For example, in a study by Meyers-Levy and Maheswaran, subjects were more likely to counterfactual think alternative circumstances for a target if his house burned down three days after he forgot to renew his insurance versus six months after he forgot to renew his insurance.
Therefore, the idea that a final outcome almost occurred plays a role in the reason we emphasize that outcome. One of the functional reasons for this is to correct for mistakes and to avoid making them again in the future.
If a person is able to consider another outcome based on a different path, they may take that path in the future and avoid the undesired outcome. It is obvious that the past cannot be changed, however, it is likely that similar situations may occur in the future, and thus we take our counterfactual thoughts as a learning experience.
Risk aversion psychology Another reason we continue to use counterfactual theory is to avoid situations that may be unpleasant to us, which is part of our approach and avoidance behavior. Often, people make a conscious effort to avoid situations that may make them feel unpleasant. However, despite our best efforts, we sometimes find ourselves in these unpleasant situations anyway.
In these situations, we continue to use counterfactual thinking to think of ways that that event could have been avoided and in turn to learn to avoid those situations again in the future.
Behavior intention[ edit ] We continue to use counterfactual thoughts to change our future behavior in a way that is more positive, or behavior intention.
This can involve making a change in our behavior immediately after the negative event occurred. By actively making a behavioral change, we are completely avoiding the problem again in the future. An example, is forgetting about Mother's Day, and immediately writing the date on the calendar for the following year, as to definitely avoid the problem.
Past studies have shown that counterfactuals serve a preparative function on both individual and group level. When people fail to achieve their goals, counterfactual thinking will be activated e. When they engage in upward counterfactual thinking, people are able to imagine alternatives with better positive outcomes.
The outcome seems worse when compared to positive alternative outcomes. This realization motivates them to take positive action in order to meet their goal in the future. For events that happen repeatedly e. For one-time events, however, the opportunity to improve future performance does not exist, so it is more likely that the person will try to alleviate disappointment by imagining how things could have been worse.
The direction of the counterfactual statement is also indicative of which function may be used.
Upward counterfactuals have a greater preparative function and focus on future improvement, while downward counterfactuals are used as a coping mechanism in an affective function.
Furthermore, additive counterfactuals have shown greater potential to induce behavioral intentions of improving performance. Collective action On the other hand, at a group level, counterfactual thinking can lead to collective action.
According to Milesi and Catellanipolitical activists exhibit group commitment and are more likely to re-engage in collective action following a collective defeat and show when they are engage in counterfactual thinking.Thus at Venice the College, even in the absence of the Doge, is called "Most Serene Prince." The Palatine of Posen, father of the King of Poland, Duke of Lorraine.
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Discuss how it started and what its consequences are/were, especially for those who fought. FREE COURSE THE WORLD, THE JEWS AND THE SCIENCE OF HUMAN SURVIVAL Anti-Semitism, division, separation, violent conflicts and a general breakdown of the institutions of human society.
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