Counterfactual Thinking

Counterfactual thinking is mentally visualizing past events that did not occur. It is essentially 'if only' thinking- wondering what the consequences would have been if something had (or had not) happened. Sometimes counterfactual thinking can lead to individuals creating 'new' memories that replace the old ones (such as a positive situation occurring instead of a traumatic event). This is more likely to happen if one engages in counterfactual thinking frequently, the proximity or closeness of the 'what if' event (like coming in second place when first place was within a fraction of a point), and whether or not an individual was in control of the event.

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