Ignorance really is bliss. Even if we had the choice, the majority of us would choose not to have future events in our lives revealed to us, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.
Psychologists interviewed more than 2,000 adults in Germany and Spain, asking participants if they would like to know the outcomes of a range of future events, for example the results of their favourite football team’s next match or the time and cause of their death.
The scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and the University of Granadafound that most of the participants would prefer to stay in the dark about their future. Up to 90 per cent of the adults didn’t want to know about upcoming negative events, with up to 70 per cent even wanting positive events to remain a surprise.
Just one per cent of participants firmly wanted their futures to be revealed to them. But there was one situation that deviated from the trend: most participants would want to know whether their unborn baby was a boy or a girl.
“Not wanting to know [the future] appears counterintuitive and may raise eyebrows,” says Gerd Gigerenzer at the Max Planck Institute. “But deliberate ignorance, as we’ve shown here, doesn’t just exist; it is a widespread state of mind.”
The psychologists also found that those individuals who prefer to remain ignorant about the future tend to be more averse to taking risks, and more frequently buy life and legal insurance. So by simply being careful about our choices, many of us believe we can ensure the best outcomes in our lives.