In life, it is inevitable to be wrong sometimes. But how exactly we learn from incorrect expectations varies from person to person.
For some people, being wrong helps them develop a motivated and optimistic perspective. For others, these missed expectations lead to pessimism and even anxiety.
In past research, psychologists have analyzed how different life expectations and predictions can impact people’s outlooks and moods within a controlled lab setting.
More recently, researchers from the University of Miami have expanded upon these findings with a distinct focus on college students.
Their study analyzed the highs and lows of human expectations surrounding one of the most stressful things for undergraduate students– exam grades.
“Whether we are conscious of it or not, we are always forming expectations,” explained Aaron Heller, a senior author of the study.
The team decided to stray from past research, which was conducted in labs via simulated scenarios. Instead, the researchers took a more realistic approach and analyzed the University of Miami students’ exam grade expectations in a chemistry course.
In order for the data collection process to work, participating students allowed their grades for four separate exams to be shared with the researchers.
And before the true grades for these tests could be posted, the students sent the researchers a prediction of how they performed. Their predictions, and true grades, were based on a zero to 100 scale.
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