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Are We Bad at Forecasting Our Emotions? It Depends on How You Measure Accuracy

How will you feel if you fail that test? Awful, really awful, you say. Then you fail the test and, yes, you feel bad—but not as bad as you thought you would. This pattern holds for most people, research shows. The takeaway message: People are lousy at predicting their emotions. “Psychology has focused on how we mess up and how stupid we are,” says University of Texas Austin psychologist Samuel D. Gosling. But Gosling and colleague Michael Tyler Mathieu suspected that researchers were missing part of the story.  So the two reanalyzed the raw data from 11 studies of “affective forecasting” and arrived at a less damning conclusion: “We’re not as hopeless as an initial reading of the literature might lead you to think,” says Gosling. The study is published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. ... More>


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