Focalism (sometimes called the focusing illusion) is the tendency for people to give too much weight to one particular piece of information when making judgments and predictions. By focusing too much on one thing (the focal event or hypothesis), people tend to neglect other important considerations and end up making inaccurate judgments as a result.


Focalism has been shown to bias judgments in two different domains.

Affective Forecasting

The first domain is that of affective forecasting, or the prediction of future feelings and emotions. People tend to overestimate the impact of positive and negative events on their future happiness, a phenomenon known as impact bias. One cause of the impact bias is a tendency to focus too narrowly on the positive or negative event itself and neglect the ...

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