Affective forecasting is predicting how one will feel in the future. Researchers had long examined the idea of making predictions about the future, cognitively speaking, but psychologists Timothy Wilson and Daniel Gilbert investigated the idea further. They looked into whether a person can estimate their future feelings. For example, would marrying a certain person bring happiness? Or would a move to a certain city boost one's mood? The pair coined the term affective forecasting in the 1990s.
In Wilson and Gilbert's research, they found that people misjudge what will make them happy and have trouble seeing through the filter of the present. They also discovered that how people feel in the moment blinds them, coloring the decisions they will make down the road. Unfortunately, people cannot accurately take into account how they might feel in the future; instead, they tend to overestimate how positive or negative they would feel about future situations. Another example: When a person wants a certain item, such as a luxury car, that person anticipates immense extended joy. However, over time, that joy of owning that car will dissipate.
If people are such poor judges of how they will feel, perhaps the best way to predict one's feelings in a given situation may be to speak to those who have experienced the event themselves.