This article examines the role of motivational factors in affective forecasting. The primary hypothesis was that people predict positive emotional reactions to future events when they are motivated to enhance their current feelings. Three experiments manipulated participants' moods (negative vs. neutral) and orientation toward their moods (reflective vs. ruminative) and then assessed the positivity of their affective predictions for future events. As hypothesized, when participants adopted a reflective orientation, and thus should have been motivated to engage in mood-regulation processes, they predicted more positive feelings in the negative than in the neutral mood condition. This pattern of mood-incongruent affective prediction was not exhibited when participants adopted a ruminative orientation. Additionally, within the negative mood condition, generating affective forecasts had a more positive emotional impact on reflectors than on ruminators. The findings suggest that affective predictions are sometimes driven by mood-regulatory motives.
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