City Research Online

My Imagination Versus Your Feelings: Can Personal Affective Forecasts Be Improved by Knowing Other Peoples' Emotions?

Walsh, E. & Ayton, P. (2009). My Imagination Versus Your Feelings: Can Personal Affective Forecasts Be Improved by Knowing Other Peoples' Emotions?. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 15(4), pp. 351-360. doi: 10.1037/a0017984


A proposed remedy for biased affective forecasts is to base judgments on the actual feelings of people (surrogates) currently experiencing the event, rather than using imagination which conjures an inaccurate vision of the future. Gilbert et al. (2009) forced people to use surrogate reports by withholding all event information, resulting in better predictions. However, in life surrogate information rarely supplants event information - can people effectively integrate both types of information into their judgments? In 5 studies, respondents predicted the impact of a health state on their own happiness. Respondents incorporated surrogate information into their judgments both in the presence and absence of event information. However, they inappropriately discounted other people’s experiences as a valid predictor of their own - particularly in the presence of event information – and imagined their happiness would be different to surrogates’ happiness. Excluding pre-existing event knowledge, changing the size of the surrogate sample, or increasing the size of the response scale, did not alter the adjustment. Although surrogate information improved affective forecasts, its influence was diminished by the presence of event information.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.
Publisher Keywords: Affective forecasting, Surrogation, Impact bias, Health state
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of E. Walsh & P.Ayton (2009) JEP-APPLIED VERSION .pdf]
Download (287kB) | Preview


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login