Experiences and Memories

Daniel Kahneman is an Israeli psychologist and economist most famous for his work on the psychology of judgment and decision-making, for which he was awarded the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. Kahneman argues that our decisions are based not our experiences, but on our memories.

He examines the reasoning behind our bad decision making and how we might make better decisions, even if those better decisions make us feel uncomfortable and because they are counter-intuitive.

Day-to-day living and long-term quality of life expressed in Kahneman’s concept of the “two selves”—the “Experiencing Self” and the “Remembering Self.”

The Experiencing Self, lives in the present, processing the endless series of experiences. Once these experiences are passed, however, most are lost forever. Many don’t even leave a trace and Kahneman calculated that the psychological presence of an experience lasts about three seconds.

To us, every moment of our life seems precious and these experiences should make up the story of our lives. But they don’t.

The story of our lives is written by the Remembering Self. Kahneman’s research reveals that the experiences we remember are defined by change. Our stories are made up of experiences that are new and those that have greater significance. In addition, our Remembering Self likes endings—how episodes and other individual experiences conclude.

Kahneman made the following distinction about how experience and memory affect our future behaviour: “We actually don’t choose between experiences, we choose between memories of experiences. And even when we think about the future, we don’t think of our future normally as experiences. We think of our future as anticipated memories.” (Source: https://www.britannica.com)


Memories are stored in our unconscious, played out as experiences through our conscious, and can often be defined by change. As a result of that the memories we have, may be distorted.

When we look back at our experiences, we tend to look at people and our experiences through ‘rose coloured spectacles’. When you work with your intuition that is not the case. You see your experiences in the way those experiences happened.

30 Jun, 2021

2 thoughts on “Experiences and Memories

  1. This is an interesting article about a fascinating subject.

    Making positive experiences which become memories has become increasingly important to me, made difficult by the pandemic, unfortunately.

    1. Thanks, yes I agree. As you say, it’s an interesting article about a fascinating subject.

      Learning about our experiences and memories teaches us about ourselves, and explains a lot about where we are in our life and in our heads and why dealing with issues is important.

      We all have issues that’s a fact, what is important is being able to recall our experiences and memories in they way that they happened, so that we can change course moving forward.

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