Predicting Feelings Versus Choices
This chapter reviews the recent flurry of research on people's predictions of their feelings and choices. Specifically, it addresses the research on people's predictions when they are in an affectively unaroused “cold” state about what they would feel and choose in affectively arousing “hot” situations. It also indicates that, whereas people in a cold state tend to overestimate the influence of affective situations on the intensity and duration of their feelings, people underestimate the influence of affective situations on their choices and preferences. Then, it discusses the different ways in which affective arousal influences feelings versus choice and suggests that predicted feelings and choices are subject to different constraints and moderators. In particular, it postulates that because choices are intuitively more stable and correspond more with dispositions than with feelings, people are more reluctant to predict changing choices than to predict changing feelings. Furthermore, three important questions for future research are considered, after which some practical suggestions for research on the interplay among thoughts, feelings, and behavior over time are raised.
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