Affective Forecasting

  title={Affective Forecasting},
  author={Timothy D. Wilson and Daniel T. Gilbert},
  journal={Current Directions in Psychological Science},
  pages={131 - 134}
  • T. Wilson, D. Gilbert
  • Published 1 June 2005
  • Psychology
  • Current Directions in Psychological Science
People base many decisions on affective forecasts, predictions about their emotional reactions to future events. They often display an impact bias, overestimating the intensity and duration of their emotional reactions to such events. One cause of the impact bias is focalism, the tendency to underestimate the extent to which other events will influence our thoughts and feelings. Another is people's failure to anticipate how quickly they will make sense of things that happen to them in a way… 

Figures from this paper

Immune neglect in affective forecasting.
When and Why People Misestimate Future Feelings: Identifying Strengths and Weaknesses in Affective Forecasting
This investigation tested a model of affective forecasting that captures this variability in bias by differentiating emotional intensity, emotional frequency, and mood and found that participants were more accurate in forecasting the intensity of their emotion and less accurate in forecasts emotion frequency and mood.
Affective forecasting and the Big Five.
Feelings of the future
Affective forecasting in problem gamblers
Affective forecasting refers to the process of predicting emotional reactions to future events. It plays an important role in decision making, but is also prone to errors, such as the ‘impact bias’:
Affective forecasting: Why can't people predict their emotions?
Two studies explore the frequently reported finding that affective forecasts are too extreme. In the first study, driving test candidates forecast the emotional consequences of failing. Test failers
Affective Forecasts for the Experience Itself: An Investigation of the Impact Bias during an Affective Experience
Research documents that forecasts about the emotional consequences of decisions are prone to error. However, there is relatively little known about affective forecasts regarding engaging in
Empathic forecasting: How do we predict other people's feelings?
Emppathic forecasts do not capture other people's actual experience very well but are similar to what other people forecast for themselves, which may enhance understanding between people.
Affective Forecasting Errors in the 2008 Election: Underpredicting Happiness
Individuals tend to be very bad at predicting their emotional responses to future events, often overestimating both the intensity and duration of their responses, particularly to negative events. The
Accuracy and artifact: reexamining the intensity bias in affective forecasting.
The results showed that participants accurately predicted the intensity of their feelings about events and revealed that people have more sophisticated self-knowledge than is commonly portrayed in the affective forecasting literature.


Intensity Bias in Affective Forecasting: The Role of Temporal Focus
In five studies, university students predicted their affective reactions to a wide variety of positive and negative future events. In Studies 1 to 3, participants also reported the affective
Focalism: a source of durability bias in affective forecasting.
Evidence for a distraction interpretation is found, that people who think about future events moderate their forecasts because they believe that these events will reduce thinking about the focal event.
On Emotionally Intelligent Time Travel: Individual Differences in Affective Forecasting Ability
Empirical intelligence, a subcomponent of EI, emerged as the strongest predictor of forecasting ability and affective forecasting accuracy.
Immune neglect: a source of durability bias in affective forecasting.
The present experiments suggest that people neglect the psychological immune system when making affective forecasts.
Lessons from the Past: Do People Learn from Experience that Emotional Reactions Are Short-Lived?
Do people learn from experience that emotional reactions to events are often short-lived? Two studies indicate that it depends on whether the events are positive or negative. People who received
Anticipated Emotions as Guides to Choice
When making decisions, people often anticipate the emotions they might experience as a result of the outcomes of their choices. In the process, they simulate what life would be like with one outcome
The pleasures of uncertainty: prolonging positive moods in ways people do not anticipate.
The authors hypothesized that uncertainty following a positive event prolongs the pleasure it causes and that people are generally unaware of this effect of uncertainty, which is consistent with a pleasure paradox, whereby the cognitive processes used to make sense of positive events reduce the pleasure people obtain from them.
Preferences as expectation-driven inferences: effects of affective expectations on affective experience.
A model arguing that affect and emotion are often formed in an expectation-driven fashion is presented, showing that when the value of a stimulus was consistent with an affective expectation, people formed evaluations relatively quickly.
The Future Is Now: Temporal Correction in Affective Forecasting☆
Decisions are often based on predictions of the hedonic consequences of future events. We suggest that people make such predictions by imagining the event without temporal context (atemporal
The effect of normative beliefs on anticipated emotions.
  • J. Baron
  • Psychology
    Journal of personality and social psychology
  • 1992
It is suggested that both normative beliefs and anticipated emotions affect decisions, and in many situations, people think that their emotional reactions will fall into line with their normative beliefs.