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Good Expectations: The Paradox of Expecting Great Things


Mendoza, Lark (2023) Good Expectations: The Paradox of Expecting Great Things. Other, California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/j3zc-ky05.


Introduction: Whether or not we are aware of it, the average person is making thousands of split-second predictions. This is true in both the short term — whether or not their morning coffee will be good, or if they’ll do well on their test — and the long term: whether or not they will be at their current job when they retire, or if they will find long-term happiness with their partner. What these predictions lead to are expectations. After making good coffee for several months, one will come to predict – and expect – that their morning coffee will be good. Similarly, after several years of a happy relationship, one will expect that the relationship will continue to bring them happiness, enough to commit to it for the rest of their life. When these expectations are met, we are content. But when we meet the unexpected, it really sucks! If a student expects to receive an A on a test and receives a surprise C, or if a worker is fired suddenly from their dream job, the results can be upsetting, impacting their short-term happiness on a range from disappointing to devastating. While it is true that over time, these perceived failures will stop affecting one's happiness so dramatically, they can be hard to cope with. So, how can we prevent it?

Item Type:Thesis (Other)
Subject Keywords:Gordon McClure Memorial Communications Prize; Gordon McClure Memorial Communications Prize in Philosophy; Hixon Writing Center
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Humanities and Social Sciences
Major Option:Philosophy
Awards:Gordon McClure Memorial Communications Prize in Philosophy, 2023.
Thesis Availability:Restricted to Caltech community only
Research Advisor(s):
  • Unknown, Unknown
Group:Gordon McClure Memorial Communications Prize, Gordon McClure Memorial Communications Prize - Philosophy, Hixon Writing Center
Thesis Committee:
  • None, None
Defense Date:17 March 2023
Record Number:CaltechThesis:06162023-220819254
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:16121
Deposited By: Hanna Ramsey
Deposited On:20 Jun 2023 18:36
Last Modified:18 Jan 2024 17:30

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