Affective Forecasting

Affective forecasting refers to people’s predictions of their future emotions and desires, with research indicating that numerous errors occur when children and adults try to anticipate how they will later feel. This entry provides an overview of these inaccuracies and outlines some explanations for their appearance. The entry highlights work in young adulthood because this is where researchers have focused their efforts. However, difficulties are present from early childhood to late adulthood, so the entry also draws from developmental literature.

What Do Humans Forecast Accurately?

By 3 to 4 years of age, children can pair basic emotions with prototypical situations, enabling them to predict which events elicit positive as opposed to negative reactions. For example, young children can easily anticipate that eating ice cream will feel ...

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