How Does Affective Forecasting Affect You? (+3 Important Types)

This blog gives information about affective forecasting.

The blog aims to help you to acknowledge the true meaning of affective forecasting and find out how it influences your future.

The blog also mentions the work of Daniel Gilbert and Timothy Wilson related to affective forecasting.

There is much more to learn in this blog so let’s move on and out what affective forecasting is.

What is Affective Forecasting?

We often make mistakes while scheduling our time. Psychologists termed this psychologist as affective forecasting.

Affective forecasting is referred to as misinterpretation about how our emotional and physical states can affect our future decisions and behaviors.

Affective forecasting is defined as misinterpretation about how an individual will feel in the future.

Timothy Wilson and Daniel Gilbert were the two people who extended the idea of affective forecasting and researched further on it.

They both researched whether the individual can predict future feelings or not.

For instance, will migration into another city bing progress? or will the party going to be held next year be the best event?

Do You Plan for the Worst?

In the process of affective forecasting, an individual thinks of the worst-case of an event that is expected in the future and tries to predict the pleasure that is expected to come.

Some of the most common examples of affective forecasting are as follows:

Projection Bias 

Projection bias by another form of cognitive bias that refers to the ability of an individual to impose his present values and preferences into the future event.

For example, if an individual is motivated to do a work today, he might not experience this same level of motivation in the future.

Projection bias is the ability of an individual to forecast his present preferences in the future.

The individual forgets that his preferences will not remain the same in the future.

An individual’s state of emotion affects his future decisions.

False Consensus

False consensus is referred to as misinterpretation about the feelings, thoughts, and perceptions of others.

People expect that others will feel like them, think like them, and prefer the same things as the individual does.

Similarly, individuals also make mistakes while predicting their future selves.

Temporal or Time Discounting 

Temporal or time discounting is the tendency of an individual to expect the same values from their future selves.

People might need things in the present but they might not necessarily require the same things in their future.

Time discounting is referred to as the ability of an individual to underestimate future events keeping in view the present physical and emotional state.

For instance, an individual who is feeling fresh right now might not feel the same in the future.


Focalism is defined as the ability of an individual to focus on specific things only.

Oftentimes an individual focuses on certain details of an event and ignores the rest.

The individual only focuses on the incoming event and forgets about how that event will affect his thoughts and emotions.

For example, if the individual decides to complete his work after watching television, he is only considering the work and forget his emotional state after watching television.

He might feel tired and won’t be able to do the work with the same feeling as he thought.

Impact Bias

Last but not the least, impact bias is the tendency of an individual to misinterpret the effect of emotional state in the future, either in the terms of potency or time limit.

For example, the individual thinks that if he is given a certain amount of money, his motivation to work for a lifetime will increase.

How Does Affective Forecasting  Impact Time Management?

Affective forecasting influences the time management ability of an individual.

For example, an individual buys some clothes for the upcoming event. He thinks he would do the fitting of the clothes on the day of the event.

He decides he will do this task in the future but he forgets the day of the event won’t be the same as he is expecting it to be.

He might get busy in other work and fail to spare some time for amending the clothes, or he might not feel like amending the clothes on that day. 

The individuals misinterpret their future emotional and physical states.

Similarly, they misinterpret the time when they are scheduling the work. Hence, affective forecasting influences time management too.

The Work of Daniel Gilbert and Timothy Wilson

The concept of affective forecasting was introduced by Timothy Wilson and Daniel Gilbert in the 1990s.

They were inspired by the observation that the individual is not always happy as he thought he would be when he gets what he needs.

Hence, both of these researches extended further the researchers about decision making and predicting and collected empirical evidence on emotional responses and accuracy of interpretation. 

Timothy Wilson and Daniel Gilbert define effective forecasting and introduced the components of affective forecasting.

Their work on affective forecasting was a great contribution to help individuals understand how their thinking and planning for the future it affected by their present states.

Types and Components of Affective Forecasting

According to Wilson and Gilbert (2003), the following are the four components of affective forecasting: 

  • Valence (whether the emotion will be positive or negative)
  • Specific emotion(s) experienced
  • The intensity of the emotion(s)
  • Duration of the emotion(s) 

In simple words, when an individual thinks and plans about his future, he considers the positivity or negativity of the future event, the emotions, and feelings associated with the future event, the intensity of these emotions and feelings, and the time till when they will last. 

Empirical studies have unveiled that the precision of predicting these four components differs greatly.  

The following are some books that can help you increase your knowledge about affective forecasting.

You can easily access these books from google or simply click the name of the book you wish to read and you will be redirected to the page from where you can access it.

What does affective forecasting allow you to do?

Affective forecasting is the ability of an individual to predict future events keeping in view his present emotional and physical states.

Individuals fail to predict their future emotions, feelings, and states with accuracy.

Rather than this, they overestimate their feelings about future events.

What does Daniel Gilbert mean by impact bias?

We will refer to mispredictions of this sort as an impact bias, defined as the tendency to overestimate the enduring impact that future events will have on our emotional reactions

What is impact bias in psychology?

In psychology, impact bias is defined as the tendency of an individual to misinterpret the effect of emotional state in the future, either in the terms of potency or time limit. 

Why does impact bias occur?

Impact bias occurs because people misinterpret the intensity and time span of their future emotional state.

This is one of the several cognitive biases and it interferes in the decision-making abilities of the individuals, making them predict incorrect emotional reactions to future events.

What is empathy bias?

Empathy bias is defined as the degree to which individuals feel good or bad about the good or bad experiences of their fellows, as compared to others.

What is Focalism in psychology?

Focalism, also known as focus illusion is defined as the ability of an individual to focus on specific things only.

In focalism, the individual focuses only on certain details of an event and ignores the rest. 

This blog aimed to provide you information about affective forecasting.

The blog explained effective forecasting in detail with examples to help you understand the concept of affective forecasting with clarity.

We hope this blog helped you with understanding the concept of affective forecasting.

If you have any queries or questions, let us know your comments. We will be glad to assist you.


Affective Forecasting | Psychology Today

What is Affective Forecasting? Definition + Daniel Gilbert’s Work by Courtney E. Ackerman, (2019)

Affective forecasting: Why you keep giving “future you” too much work by Jory MacKay (2018)

Google books 

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