Intensity bias in affective forecasting: The role of temporal focus

  • Buehler R
  • McFarland C
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Abstract

In 5 studies, university students predicted their affective reactions to a wide variety of positive and negative future events. In Studies 1-3, participants also reported the affective reactions they experienced when the target event occurred. As hypothesized, they tended to anticipate more intense reactions than they actually experienced. In Studies 3-5, a cognitive determinant of this "intensity bias" was examined. It was hypothesized that people anticipate stronger affective reactions when they focus narrowly on an upcoming event in a manner that neglects past experience and less intense reactions when they consider a set of relevant previous experiences. Evidence from thought-listing measures as well as an experimental manipulation of temporal focus supported this hypothesis. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2002 APA, all rights reserved)

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Authors

  • Roger Buehler

  • Cathy McFarland

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