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Am J Psychol. 2009 Summer;122(2):167-74.

Affective forecasts of future positive events are tempered by consideration of details.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, Stroudsburg, PA 18301, USA.


Forecasts of affect associated with future positive events tend to be overly optimistic. In 2 experiments we examined the influence of thinking either concretely or abstractly on ratings of anticipated enjoyment of a prototypically positive future activity. In 1 study we primed a low-level construal, and in 1 we provided details of the event. In both experiments, ratings for the positive future event were lower for participants who considered the task concretely than for those who were not primed or considered the activity abstractly. Findings suggested that priming a low-level construal and considering concrete details may lower overestimates of pleasure associated with future events.

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