Psychology Colloquium: Dr Adam Bulley School of Psychology and Brain and Mind Centre, University of Sydney
Dr Adam Bulley
Adam Bulley is an NHMRC CJ Martin Fellow at the School of Psychology and Brain and Mind Centre, University of Sydney, and the Department of Psychology at Harvard University
Title: Making decisions about the future: lessons from research in prospection
Aside from its role in remembering the past, human memory also contributes to our capacity to think about and imagine what might happen in the future. This prospective cognition is a foundation of adaptive behaviour and serves multiple functions in everyday life. In this talk, I will explore one such function: making flexible decisions that take delayed consequences into account. Trade-offs between sooner and later consequences are pervasive and consequential in human affairs, arising in decisions about our finances, health, relationships, politics, the environment, and in a range of other domains. A great deal of research has therefore attempted to leverage prospection to encourage patience across these domains, and I will review the promise of those efforts. However, I will also show why increasing patience is not necessarily a desirable goal and demonstrate how farsightedness can sometimes paradoxically encourage people to be less patient, not more. Throughout, I will draw lessons from the cognitive science of prospection for our understanding of impulsivity and self-control.
Adam Bulley is an NHMRC CJ Martin Fellow at the School of Psychology and Brain and Mind Centre, University of Sydney, and the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. He completed his PhD at the University of Queensland in cognitive science before moving overseas for his postdoctoral research. He is now back in Australia and has recently joined the school here at the University of Sydney. His research focuses on how people imagine and make decisions about the future.