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

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)

By Mark Travers Ph.D. on May 27, 2015 in Social Instincts
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 in 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 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.

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 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.

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.

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.

The Psychological Immune System 2: When It’s Healthy to Be Antisocial

Can a mere sneeze make you closed-minded and unsociable? A recent paper in Psychological Science reports two experiments exploring how thoughts of disease trigger social avoidance at multiple levels.  

What (whom) women want

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on January 12, 2010 in One Among Many
Women are not immune to the pull of conformity when it comes to choosing a partner. This is good news for men who have already attracted women, and bad news for those who have not.

Buy Now, Pay Later: New Year's Resolutions, Self-deception and Procrastination

By Timothy A Pychyl Ph.D. on December 23, 2009 in Don't Delay
You've got to love New Year's resolutions. The self-righteous act makes us feel good now, but we pay later. In fact, I think these resolutions are a form of culturally-scripted procrastination that actually results in greater self-regulatory failure.

The limits of self-knowledge

By Simine Vazire Ph.D. on May 22, 2009 in Know Thyself
It's pretty uncontroversial to say that there are some things people are not very good at knowing about themselves. It's not easy to know how funny you are, or whether people find you charming. But surely there are some things you know beyond a doubt, like how happy you are or how you're feeling right now. Or do you?

How to Overcome Obstacles to Goal Pursuit When That Obstacle

By Timothy A Pychyl Ph.D. on March 31, 2009 in Don't Delay
We've all seen it, if only in the movies - a coach detailing the plays for the football team. Deliberate strategies to get around obstacles to the goal. But what happens when the obstacle is you? What's your game plan?

Time Traveling to Reduce Procrastination (and "Tough Love" for Procrastinators)

By Timothy A Pychyl Ph.D. on March 30, 2009 in Don't Delay
We set the best of intentions for tomorrow with the belief that tomorrow will also bring the motivation to act. Some of these are new intentions, some "re-treads" as we procrastinate today. "I'll feel more like it tomorrow." Will you? Here are two strategies to help ensure you'll actually fulfill that intention.

Affective forecasting, intentions and why we procrastinate

By Timothy A Pychyl Ph.D. on March 28, 2009 in Don't Delay
We take action or make intentions for action believing that the action will make us feel better. This is the perceived hedonic consequence of future events. The trouble is, the research on affective forecasting shows that we're terrible at predicting how we will feel in the future. I think this is a key issue in understanding procrastination.

Is it Possible to Love Anyone Forever?

By Eli J Finkel on July 24, 2008 in The Attractionologists
How wonderful to have found your life mate! You're certain you will love this person forever. Should you solemnly vow that you will do so?