Duke, Philosophy & Neuroscience

Counterfactual thinking and perceived control

Our capacity to imagine alternative ways in which actual events could have occurred—i.e., episodic counterfactual thinking—seems to be influenced by a number of factors. One such factor is perceived control. It is said that people tend to mentally mutate events they perceive to be under their control, relative to events that seem uncontrollable. In this talk I want to re-evaluate this claim and raise some issues that may have consequences for research in philosophy and clinical psychology.