The far and near future

Studies show that the parts of the brain that are primarily responsible for generating feelings of pleasurable excitement become active when people imagine receiving a reward such as money in the near future but not when they imagine receiving the same reward in the far future.

If you’ve ever bought too many boxes of Thin Mints from the Girl Scout who hawks her wares in front of the local library but too few boxes from the Girl Scout who rings your doorbell and takes your order for future delivery, then you’ve experienced this anomaly yourself. When we spy the future through our prospectiscopes, the clarity of the next hour and the fuzziness of the next year can lead us to make a variety of mistakes.

Daniel Gilbert, Stumbling on Happiness