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End Effects of Rated Life Quality: The James Dean Effect

End Effects of Rated Life Quality: The James Dean Effect In three studies, we explored how the ending of a life influences the perceived desirability of that life. We consistently observed that participants neglected duration in judging the global quality of life. Across all the studies, the end of life was weighted heavily, producing ratings that contradict a simple hedonic calculus in which years of pleasure and pain are summed. Respondents rated a wonderful life that ended abruptly as better than one with additional mildly pleasant years (the “James Dean Effect”). Similarly, a terrible life with additional moderately bad years was rated as more desirable than one ending abruptly without those unpleasant years (the “Alexander Solzhenitsyn Effect”). Finally, embedding moderately intense years in the middle of life did not produce effects as strong as adding those years to the end of life, suggesting that a life's ending is weighted especially heavily in judging quality of life. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Psychological Science SAGE

End Effects of Rated Life Quality: The James Dean Effect

Psychological Science , Volume 12 (2): 5 – Mar 1, 2001

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References (12)

Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
© 2001 Association for Psychological Science
ISSN
0956-7976
eISSN
1467-9280
DOI
10.1111/1467-9280.00321
pmid
11340920
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In three studies, we explored how the ending of a life influences the perceived desirability of that life. We consistently observed that participants neglected duration in judging the global quality of life. Across all the studies, the end of life was weighted heavily, producing ratings that contradict a simple hedonic calculus in which years of pleasure and pain are summed. Respondents rated a wonderful life that ended abruptly as better than one with additional mildly pleasant years (the “James Dean Effect”). Similarly, a terrible life with additional moderately bad years was rated as more desirable than one ending abruptly without those unpleasant years (the “Alexander Solzhenitsyn Effect”). Finally, embedding moderately intense years in the middle of life did not produce effects as strong as adding those years to the end of life, suggesting that a life's ending is weighted especially heavily in judging quality of life.

Journal

Psychological ScienceSAGE

Published: Mar 1, 2001

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