Affective Forecasting

What Is Affective Forecasting?

Affective forecasting is predicting how one will feel in the future. As it turns out, people are far from perfect at it. We misjudge what will make us happy and have trouble seeing through the filter of the present. Our current feelings blind us to how we'll make decisions in the future, when we might be feeling very differently. The best way to predict how we will feel in a given situation may be to speak to those who have experienced it themselves.

How Would You Feel If...

The full emotional impact of future experiences—from having to give a presentation to visiting a foreign country—are hard to anticipate. As a result, decisions to embrace, avoid, or put off such scenarios may not be as well-informed as they seem in the present. A seemingly dramatic shift, such as starting a new job or suddenly moving across the country, might seem more invigorating in one’s imagination if one glosses over the less-than-ideal details of such a change. Likewise, someone may fail to predict just how affecting certain experiences, even seemingly mundane ones, can be.

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