Accuracy in Forecasting Feelings

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You might feel awful, on failing a test or you might feel bad, but not as bad as you had considered you would. Research shows that this pattern is very common amongst individuals. A general perception is that individuals are generally miserable while predicting their emotions. Psychology has proved how stupid we are and how we mess up, says psychologist Samuel D. Gosling from the University of Texas Austin.  However he felt that researchers missed a major part in the story.  So he, along with his colleague Michael Tyler Mathieu reanalyzed the underdone data from 11 researches of “affective forecasting” and came to a less damning conclusion. The conclusion says that they are not hopeless as the first reading of the literature can lead them to think. This study got published in a periodical Psychological Science.

Gosling says that you experiment it by taking a group and ask them to make a prediction of their emotions and on average they will predict wrong. However there is no comparative way of glancing at it. You might have thought that you will feel very bad when you get a red F on your report card and you might end up feeling awful. But you feel only mild, contrary to what you predicted. They studied few individuals where an individual who did forecasting was asked to report the later feeling. It was important that both were connected to the same event.

The results showed that if you predict better, you can measure only the mean absolute accuracy. They say that comparative precision might be constructive in real life. For instance, HIV clinic learnt that their client’s tend to be much upset than they considered they would be on receiving the test report of HIV as positive. Counselors report, that they would have been able to serve their clients in better way and prepared them for the bad news, if they knew well in advance who is going to have a tough time.

The researchers say that the story does not end in justifying if we are bad forecasters or not. For Gosling, the story is the past study which says that they are bad. The findings say that we are bad at this since it is very complicated.




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