words, when something hurtful is obvious, then it can be easily dealt with to make our psyche happier. While smoothly transitioning into describing the trigger related to pain, Gilbert claims that if our body experiences serve pain from electric shocks, then our discomfort will be “unpleasant enough” to activate our psychological defenses (pg. 199). However, when they are just mild shocks, a person never really feels much pleasure. Thus, the greater thepain, the more pleasurable the experiences afterwards will be. Gilbert also illustrates how the situation is similar for a victim and bystander approach. When analyzing the results of a psychological study, Gilbert notices that “the victim of negative feedback liked the psychologist more than did the volunteer who was merely the bystander to it” (pg. 200). But, when the volunteers were asked to predict how they would feel in both situations, they preferred to be the bystander over the victim. Gilbert’s reasoning is that when someone experiences direct pain, then he or she will be able to see a positive view to it, unlike someone who experiences indirect pain. Other than a trigger activated by pain, Gilbert claims that there exists a trigger where “only when we cannot change the experience that we look for ways to change our view ofthe experience” (pg. 201). He demonstrates his theory using examples such as family issues, a photography class study, and those inescapable advertisements. Since Gilbert sees that his readers can identify themselves with the family and advertising aspects of his argument, he mainly explains the photography class study. At the end of the class, a professor sorted his students into two groups: an inescapable group, one where the students had to make a choice and live with it; and an escapable group, one where the students had to make a choice that they could later change. The students in the inescapable group turned out to be happier than the escapable group. But when a fresh group of students were asked to predict how they would feel in either group, they preferred to be in the escapable group. Gilbert agrees with the study when he observes that “inescapable circumstances trigger the psychological defenses that enable us to achieve positive views of those circumstances, but we do not anticipate that this will happen” (pg. 202). Basically, Gilbert reiterates the results the way a psychologist would. Now that Gilbert feels he has explained the triggers enough, he claims that explaining a situation can dampen its effects on our brain. While comparing our brains to that of a fruit
fly, Gilbert clarifies that we can increase our brains defenses by explaining why a particular situation felt bad. But there is a downside when we explain good experience.