Affective forecasting is the ability to accurately predict how one will feel in the future. It is a cognitive process that is used to anticipate the emotional impact of future events or experiences. Studies have shown that affective forecasting is an important part of decision-making, as people often make decisions based on their expected emotional outcomes.

Recent research has focused on how affective forecasting can be improved. For example, one study found that incorporating information about past experiences can improve accuracy in affective forecasting (Wilson & Gilbert, 2005). Additionally, another study suggested that the use of rewards and incentives can increase accuracy in affective forecasting (Kahn & Snyder, 2008). Furthermore, research has shown that people tend to overestimate the duration of their emotional reactions (Wilson & Gilbert, 2003).

In addition to its role in decision-making, affective forecasting has been used to study mental health outcomes. For example, one study found that people who were able to accurately predict how they would feel after a stressful life event tended to have better mental health outcomes than those who were unable to accurately predict their emotions (Dunn, Gilbert & Wilson, 2010).

Overall, affective forecasting is an important cognitive process that can be used to improve decision-making and mental health outcomes. Further research should continue to explore how affective forecasting can be improved and used in various contexts.


Dunn, B. D., Gilbert, D. T., & Wilson, T. D. (2010). Affective forecasting: Knowing what to want. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 19(2), 67-70.

Kahn, B. E., & Snyder, C. R. (2008). Incentives, affective forecasting, and decisions: Exploring the psychology of incentivizing. Journal of Economic Psychology, 29(3), 373-384.

Wilson, T. D., & Gilbert, D. T. (2003). Affective forecasting. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 35, 345-411.

Wilson, T. D., & Gilbert, D. T. (2005). Affective forecasting: The role of affective information in decision-making. In D. Kahneman, E. Diener, & N. Schwarz (Eds.), Well-being: The foundations of hedonic psychology (pp. 536-571). New York, NY: Russell Sage.

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