What Is Affective Forecasting?

Affective forecasting is predicting how you will feel in the future. As it turns out, we're terrible at it. We're not good judges of what will make us happy, and we have trouble seeing through the filter of the now. Our feelings in the present blind us to how we'll make decisions in the future, when we might be feeling very differently.

Recent Posts on Affective Forecasting

The Psychology Behind the Doctors Strike in the UK

Strikes can also serve a psychological function, because if the union were never to strike, the employer would always offer the lowest possible remuneration...

Should Robots Be Our Grandma's New Friend?

By Teresa Ghilarducci Ph.D. on December 24, 2015 When I’m 64
What will loneliness in old age look like? VanGogh "At Eternity's Gate"

How Insecurity Happens and How to Overcome It

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on December 02, 2015 Ambigamy
"Flow" happens when we're "in the groove." Anxiety arises when we "lose our groove." Here we explore how grooves are made.

Why You Have Mixed Emotions, Even at Happy Times

By understanding how life is made up of happiness, sadness, and some combination of the two, you can gain insight into bringing out the most of those best of times.

Humankind's Current Growing Pains Are Right On Schedule

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 26, 2015 Ambigamy
Taking stock is a good use of the holiday season, hard this year what with the calamities all around us. Still, from a broad vista humankind is doing fine, just what we'd expect to be doing now given evolutionary and human history.

Thanksgrieving: How Inevitable Decline Can Make Us Grateful

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 26, 2015 Ambigamy
A grateful song I wrote for those times when it's hard to feel grateful.

The Terrorist Trance

By Kirby Farrell Ph.D. on November 14, 2015 A Swim in Denial
One of the few truisms that deserves to repeated over and over is that hysteria can be as deceptive as it is thrilling.

How Parental Divorce Can Impact Adolescence Now and Later

Although parents wish divorce was only about the adults, children and adolescents are always affected.

What Is A Butthead Other Than Someone We Butt Heads With?

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on October 16, 2015 Ambigamy
An important personal, social, political, practical and even spiritual question.

My Body Doesn't Like Pills

Sometimes patients feel uncomfortable about using a medical treatment, but they might not come right out and say so. Instead, they may develop various symptoms that seem to them to be allergy, or intolerance, or some other indication that they had better stop. Convincing them to continue, or finding an alternative, requires doctors to be alert, flexible, and sensitive.

Why Some People Think the Apocalypse Is Coming Soon

"Armageddonists" believe that Bible or other religious prophecies about the 'End Time' must be taken literally, and seem to expect nuclear war to fulfill these prophecies.

On World Suicide Prevention Day - Can Your Words Kill You?

One study focusing on eminent people from the 20th Century found a suicide rate of 5%, hundreds of times higher than the suicide rate in the UK's general population.

Attraction & Infidelity: Can 'Eye Candy' Always Be Resisted?

When the Ashley Madison website, apparently promoting infidelity, was hacked revealing just how many people appear involved in relationship betrayal, the media appeared scandalised at the prevalence of infidelity - or at least the appetite for it. However psychologists have recently posed the opposite question - why is there in fact not more infidelity?

The Effects of Crying

Although crying results in sympathetic stimulation, it may help by eliciting empathy of others. Additionally, people recall feeling better after having cried.

After a Suicide Tragedy, Will There Be Copycats?

A recently published study entitled 'One followed by many?--Long-term effects of a celebrity suicide on the number of suicidal acts on the German railway net', found the number of railway suicidal acts, in the following two weeks, more than doubled in Germany.

The Persistent Stigma of Hearing Loss

By Katherine Bouton on August 06, 2015 What I Hear
Twenty-five years after the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act, the stigma of hearing loss persists. Some thoughts about why that might be.

How Troubled Kids are like Tornadoes

A book about tornado science mirrors concerns with juveniles for whom pressure can explode into utter destruction.

Why You Shouldn’t Overthink Your Relationship

A common piece of advice when you’re trying to make an important decision is to generate a pros and cons list. You think “Should I break up with my boyfriend”, and then you generate a list of your guy’s faults and assets. It turns out this strategy is remarkably ineffective in illuminating your true feelings about your partner. But why?

Who's Best at Predicting the Future? (and How to Get Better)

Some people are surprisingly good at predicting the future. Are you one of them?

Why We Care So Much About What Others Think of Us

By Peg Streep on May 05, 2015 Tech Support
Are we hardwired to crave status and to respond to people in programmed ways depending on their status? Is status about what money can buy or something else? A close look at what the research shows...

The Emotional "Trials" of Trial Independence (ages 18 - 23)

For many last stage adolescents (18 - 23) independence can prove too much of a good thing when they flounder in so much freedom, become stressed out, and experience emotional crisis as a result. At this juncture, parents can be of help.

4 Ways to Improve Your Emotional Communication

The way we feel is, for better or worse, reflected by our nonverbal communication. The way you reveal, understand, and manage your emotions can mean the difference between successful and unsuccessful interactions from casual to intimate long-term relationships.

Why Counting on Your Dreams to Come True May Not Be Worth It

By Thomas Hills Ph.D. on September 24, 2014 Statistical Life
Failures of affective forecasting are associated with overlooking the details of the future. But affective forecasting at all is associated with overlooking the details of the present.

False Consciousness of Happiness

So you think you know how to be happy? Think again and feel again.

The Pursuit of Liberty

By AJ LeVan, MAPP on July 03, 2013 Flourish!
It's not that we've missed the mark on happiness as much as we've given up our personal freedom to strive for someone else's idea of happiness. Here are 5 steps to begin regaining your freedom today!

What Is the Secret to a Happy and Meaningful Life?

Recently I’ve been contemplating giving up on the modern world and moving to a cabin in the woods. Maybe I'd find more meaning and happiness living the simple life. But research says I should think twice before giving it all up, because how I feel inside may be a bigger determinant of my happiness than any external factor such as the view from my window. Here's why...

My Quibble With Facebook

The reason I rarely take any pleasure in Facebook is that it "ordinizes" our friends, family members, acquaintances, and colleagues. It takes unique individuals who have intriguing hidden sides and qualities and turns them into ordinary, unremarkable, and sometimes even boring people.

The Taste of Revenge May Only Be Bittersweet

Is it possible to cheat, lie, and deceive with grace and composure? Is it true that to seek revenge you must dig two graves, one of them being for yourself? Though we may be tempted to right the wrongs against us, forgiveness may be the only path to serenity.

Do You Underestimate the Joys of Nature?

Why are we surprised at how good it feels to take a hike? A new experiment demonstrates that people significantly underestimate the psychological boost they would get from taking a walk in a natural environment.