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EoE Question

Hi Sean,

With the greatest of respect, I am confused about expectations in the EoE. I am really excited about your work and I really want to get a real handle on it.

Hypothetically, I could expect my sports team to lose a game while preferring that they win. ([1]How can expectations be interchangeable with preferences if they can differ? Is it that there are then two EoEs that are working concurrently where I am more attached to my preference that they win than to my expectation that they lose so that the preference equation overpowers the expectation equation so that I am happy when they win?)

If my sports team then does in fact win the game my expectation (lose) doesn’t match the perception (win) and yet it would result in a positive emotion. ([2] Is it that the wording is what solves this? E.g. Does my expectation that my sports teams does as well as at least losing make the preference into the sports team doing at least as well as losing? Does making the wording of the expectation match the wording of the preference make the equation correct?

[3] Are there times when the expectation is used and times when the preference is used or do they always match?


Kind regards,



Any more clarification available for this EoE needing to be balanced, for happiness/emotion to occur? Did James answer his own question above, when he says the sports team does as well as at least not losing?

I would love to hear more about the differences and similarities of 'expectation' and 'preference of this situation.

I understand the bear entering the tent example, since fear is elicited when a bear enters the tent, when the expectation existed for none to come in. There is unbalance, therefore a negative emotion.

If I have a preference for no bears to enter the tent, do I have any emotion in the morning if bears do not enter all night? I may be happy, because there is balance in the EoE, or could I have no emotion since there is a 'none event'?  I am assuming the fear emotion comes out of the imbalance created by something actually occurring, when it was not expected to, and the actual event could be perceived as 'negative'.

I appreciate having a better understanding of what causes emotion, since this makes sense as I think through it. As I learn more about my brain, I am continually encouraged and challenged by rule 1, reminding me that I can't control something I can't see (or perceive).

I am looking forward to being able to see more in real-time. It is not easy practicing a unfamiliar skill.

Thank you.