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

Why Some People Let Us Down When We Need Them

If someone has experienced a particular event, they’ll sympathize with those going through the same experience. But those who have gotten through difficult situations tend to be the harshest judges of those who fail under similar circumstances.

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.

Fear the Future

In our modern world, anxiety is a burden to many. In our past, however, it may have been the difference between life and death.

Looking for a Partner? The Four Buckets, Part 2

Look for like or love in a different way.

Is the Wedding Still On?

There's more to deciding how to treat acne than counting the pimples.

Embracing the Fear at the Heart of Depression

Depression can make you tumble and fall as well as climb and grow.

The Surprising Future Appeal of Everyday Experiences

By Juliana Breines Ph.D. on February 26, 2015 in In Love and War
Typically it’s the big milestones that we document most diligently—the weddings, births, graduations, professional achievements. These are the events we expect we’ll most want to revisit down the road. But research suggests that revisiting ordinary, everyday experiences can bring us a lot more pleasure than we realize.

Data Analytics in Baseball and Dream Research

This may be the sharpest distinction between data analytics in baseball and dream research: the former is a relatively closed system, and the latter is a wide open system, perhaps the most wide open system in human psychology.

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 Fulfilling Travel Is Harder than We Think

By Jaime Kurtz Ph.D. on October 28, 2014 in Happy Trails
In this introduction to "Happy Trails," I provide a few reasons why you might not enjoy your upcoming trip as much as you think you will.

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

By Thomas Hills Ph.D. on September 24, 2014 in 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.

5 Ways to Feel Happier Right Now

By Juliana Breines Ph.D. on August 31, 2014 in In Love and War
Feeling unhappy? Research suggests that these simple happiness-boosting strategies can help you feel better right now—and, if you make a habit of them, can help make that happiness last.

Four Reasons You Can't Trust Yourself

By Peg Streep on May 28, 2014 in Tech Support
A look into what science knows about how the mind works, and the tricks it plays on each and every one of us. Once again, you may not be "thinking" when you think you are.

False Consciousness of Happiness

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

5 Pitfalls of Positive Thinking

By Peg Streep on March 13, 2014 in Tech Support
Our culture exhorts us to "go for it," to ignore obstacles and setbacks, and to think that every cloud has a silver lining. But is positive thinking getting us where we need to go? The answer may surprise you.

Think You're Thinking? 6 Reasons to Think Again

By Peg Streep on January 13, 2014 in Tech Support
We all like to think of ourselves as cautious, careful, and reasoning thinkers— objective, logical in our approach and attentive to detail. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Pursuit of Liberty

By AJ LeVan, MAPP on July 03, 2013 in 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

By Goal Auzeen Saedi Ph.D. on December 01, 2011 in Millennial Media
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.

How Blinded Is Your Thinking at This Very Moment?

By Sonja Lyubomirsky Ph.D. on November 11, 2011 in How of Happiness
Isn't it amazing how some days we wake up and the world seems beautiful—full of wonder, kindness, heroism, and brilliance? But other days, we wake to a conviction that the world is miserly and ugly, that the people around us are malevolent and small-minded, that the mole on our shoulder is cancerous, that our past is wasted, and our future is bleak.

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.

Underestimating How Moral We Are

What role do emotions play in moral decision-making?

Peering Through The Rabbit Hole

By Scott Barry Kaufman Ph.D. on December 20, 2010 in Beautiful Minds
Rabbit Hole offers a strikingly authentic portrait of what it's like to cope with unimaginable loss.

Four Reasons Smart People Make Stupid Dating Decisions

By Linda Young Ph.D. on December 10, 2010 in Love in Limbo
Every guy or girl in a bar looks more irresistible when you're sex or relationship-starved.

Your Future Happiness Depends Less On the Present Than You Might Think

By Art Markman Ph.D. on November 12, 2010 in Ulterior Motives
You make a lot of decisions based on how you think they will make you feel in the future. The evidence is pretty clear, though, that big positive and negative events don't have an enormous impact on people's happiness. Why do these errors persist?

Post-election depression or elation? Don't get too distraught or jubilant!

By Allen R McConnell Ph.D. on November 04, 2010 in The Social Self
Tuesday's midterm elections triggered a seismic shift not only in Congress but in the emotions of so many voters throughout the country as well. However, the forecasts of protracted "doom and gloom" among Democrats or "happy days are here again" among Republicans are probably too strong.