A new study has revealed that sharing extraordinary experiences might come at a social cost as it may leave one feeling worse.
Psychological scientist and study author Gus Cooney of Harvard University, said that extraordinary experiences were pleasurable in the moment but could leave one socially worse off in the long run.
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Cooney continued that the participants in their study mistakenly thought that having an extraordinary experience would make people the star of the conversation but they were wrong, because to be extraordinary was to be different than other people, and social interaction is grounded in similarities.
Cooney and colleagues had 68 participants come to the lab in groups of four. In each group, one participant was assigned to watch a highly-rated 4-star video of a street magician performing for a crowd, while the other three participants were assigned to watch a lower-rated 2-star animated video, and they were all aware of each other's video assignments. After watching the videos, the participants sat around a table and had a 5-minute unstructured conversation.
The participants who watched the 4-star video, the extraordinary experiencers reported feeling worse after the group discussion than did those who watched the 2-star video, due to the fact that they felt more excluded during the discussion.
Participants in two additional studies were asked to imagine how either they or another person would feel as an extraordinary experiencer taking part in the first study. As expected, they mistakenly predicted that the person who had the extraordinary experience would feel better than the ordinary experiencers throughout the whole experiment. Not only that, they predicted that they would talk more during the post-movie discussion, and would not feel excluded.
The study is published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.