Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

After Good or Bad Events, People Forget How They Thought They’d Feel

02.11.2010
Forecasts revamped to match reality

People aren’t very accurate at predicting how good or bad they’ll feel after an event -- such as watching their team lose the big game or getting a flat-screen TV. But afterwards, they “misremember” what they predicted, revising their prognostications after the fact to match how they actually feel, according to new research.

These findings appear in the November issue of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, published by the American Psychological Association.

Although the process of predicting emotions seems imprecise from start to finish, misremembering predictions might actually be motivating. Trust in one’s emotional instincts could be “nature’s feedback mechanism to steer us toward actions that are good for us,” said psychologist Tom Meyvis, PhD, of New York University. Our ignorance of this tendency might help keep us motivated to avoid what we expect to be awful and work for what we hope will be great, he suggested.

Four studies compared an actual and recollected prediction to post-event feelings for each of four different scenarios:

Before the 2005 Super Bowl football game, 19 Philadelphia Eagles fans were asked: How happy will you be if they lose to the Patriots? After the loss, they were asked: How happy are you? How happy did you think you would be?Before the 2008 presidential election, 73 supporters of John McCain were asked: How upset will you be if Obama wins? After his win, they were asked: How upset are you about Obama’s win? How upset did you think you would be?Before making an important purchase, 40 participants were asked: How happy will it make you feel? After the purchase, they were asked: How happy are you? How happy did you think you’d be?Before they ate a jelly bean in two separate sequences (after eating a more preferred or less preferred flavor), 53 participants were asked: How much will you enjoy this jelly bean in each sequence? After eating both sequences of jelly beans, they were asked: How much did you enjoy the jelly bean in each sequence? How much did you think you would enjoy it?Across the studies, participants inaccurately predicted their feelings and wrongly recalled their predictions. Indeed, whether an event had been anticipated or dreaded, peoples’ revised predictions shifted toward how they actually felt. For example, Eagles fans said in advance they'd hate it if the Patriots won but afterward, they shrugged off the loss and said they always knew they’d be OK.

The results reveal a bias toward using current feelings to infer our earlier predictions. People don’t realize they made a mistake, so they don’t learn from that mistake -- and keep making the same errors, said the researchers. “So, next time, Eagles fans will again expect to be devastated after their team’s loss,” Meyvis predicted.

Article: “Why Don’t We Learn to Accurately Forecast Feelings? How Misremembering Our Predictions Blinds Us to Past Forecasting Errors,” Tom Meyvis, PhD, New York University; Rebecca K. Ratner, PhD, University of Maryland; and Jonathan Levav, PhD, Columbia University; Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Vol. 139, No. 4.

Contact Dr. Tom Meyvis by e-mail or at +852 2358 7731 while in Hong Kong until the end of December and at (917) 749-0940 after his return to the U.S. in January 2011.

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world’s largest association of psychologists. APA’s membership includes more than 150,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.

Del.icio.us Digg Yahoo Facebook MySpace

APA Public Affairs | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.apa.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Physics of bubbles could explain language patterns
25.07.2017 | University of Portsmouth

nachricht Obstructing the ‘inner eye’
07.07.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

CCNY physicists master unexplored electron property

26.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Molecular microscopy illuminates molecular motor motion

26.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Large-Mouthed Fish Was Top Predator After Mass Extinction

26.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>