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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2000 May;78(5):821-36.

Focalism: a source of durability bias in affective forecasting.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville 22903, USA. tdw@virginia.edu

Abstract

The durability bias, the tendency to overpredict the duration of affective reactions to future events, may be due in part to focalism, whereby people focus too much on the event in question and not enough on the consequences of other future events. If so, asking people to think about other future activities should reduce the durability bias. In Studies 1-3, college football fans were less likely to overpredict how long the outcome of a football game would influence their happiness if they first thought about how much time they would spend on other future activities. Studies 4 and 5 ruled out alternative explanations and found evidence for a distraction interpretation, that people who think about future events moderate their forecasts because they believe that these events will reduce thinking about the focal event. The authors discuss the implications of focalism for other literatures, such as the planning fallacy.

PMID:
10821192
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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