It's no secret that what we enjoy now may change years from now. The music we liked ten years ago may have us scratching our heads as to why we even liked it. We may have different values, political beliefs, favorite television shows and movies. Physiologist David Gilbert calls this phenomenon the "end of history illusion". It may explain why we make decisions now that we may regret later such as marrying the wrong person, making a bad career choice, or getting that lower back tattoo on Spring Break.
He noticed that we tend to see this in teenagers easily, warning them that they will regret that nose piercing or skull tattoo when they get older. He and his colleges decided to make a study to gauge this theory, but did not have the time constants to do a long generational study. Instead they took 19,000 subjects of various age groups and surveyed them. For instance, to gauge change in musical taste he asked a group of 25 year olds how much they would pay to see their favorite band; he then asked a group of 35 year olds how much they would pay to see their favorite band from when they were 25. The study showed that the 35 year old were less interested for the most part in paying as much to see their old favorite band.
Their study shows that the expectation of what we think we will still enjoy years from now can cause us to spend more money on them now. This study may show that we need to put a lot of thought into what we purchase, and especially what kind and if we get any tattoo work done.