Motivation and emotion/Book/2021/Impact bias

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Impact Bias:
What is impact bias, what causes it, what are its consequences, and how can it be avoided?

Overview[edit | edit source]

It is not uncommon for people to be able to predict how certain outcomes will impact on their emotions. Often people know what actions will bring them joy, anger and sadness and will often alter their behaviour based on there predictions. But psychologists have questioned how accurate are these predictions are if they are in fact hindering rather than helping us especially when predicting the emotional response to negative situations.

Focus questions:

  • What is the first focus question?
  • What is the second focus question?
  • What is the third focus question?

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Suggestions for this section:

  • What is the problem? Why is it important?
  • How can specific motivation and/or emotion theories and research help?
  • Provide an example or case study.
  • Conclude with Focus questions to guide the chapter.

Impact Bias Definition[edit | edit source]

  • Impact Bias which is also at times referred to as Affective Forecasting is when an individual overestimates the emotional response a future experience will produce in them.
  • This emotional response is can be overestimated both in duration and intensity and impact both enjoyable and distressing emotions.
  • Individuals can often anticipate the direction the emotion will go but often fail to measure the intensity and/duration of the emotion.


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Suggestions for this section:

  • For the topic development, provide at least 3 bullet-points about key content per section. Include key citations.
  • For the book chapter, expand the bullet points into paragraphs.
  • If a section has a lot of content, arrange it into two to five sub-headings such as in the interactive learning features section. Avoid having sections with only one sub-heading.

Causes of Impact Bias[edit | edit source]

Figure 1. Impact Bias can impact decision making
  • Previous experiences
  • Other biases
Feature box example
  • Shaded background
  • Coloured border

Impact Bias consequences[edit | edit source]

  • Impact Bias can interfere with individual's plans for the future and research has shown it having a negative impact on future happiness due to disappointment of reality.
  • Some research suggests impact bias may increase behaviour due to higher motivation

Avoiding Impact Bias[edit | edit source]

[Provide more detail]

Working notes[edit | edit source]

It could be useful to have a temporary section for working notes during the topic development and chapter drafting. This section will be ignored when the topic development is marked, but remove it before finalising the book chapter.

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

The Conclusion is arguably the most important section. It should be possible for someone to read only the Overview and the Conclusion and still get a good idea of the topic.

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Suggestions for this section:

  • What is the answer to the question in the sub-title (based on psychological theory and research)?
  • What are the answers to the focus questions?
  • What are the practical, take-home messages?

See also[edit | edit source]


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Suggestions for this section:

  • Present in alphabetical order.
  • Include the source in parentheses.

References[edit | edit source]

Buechel, E. C., Zhang, J., & Morewedge, C. K. (2017). Impact Bias or Underestimation? Outcome Specifications Predict the Direction of Affective Forecasting Errors. Journal of Experimental Psychology. General, 146(5), 746–761. https://doi.org/10.1037/xge0000306

Levine, L. J., Lench, H. C., Kaplan, R. L., & Safer, M. A. (2013). Like Schrödinger’s Cat, the Impact Bias Is Both Dead and Alive: Reply to Wilson and Gilbert (2013). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 105(5), 749–756. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0034340

Morewedge, C. K., & Buechel, E. C. (2013). Motivated Underpinnings of the Impact Bias in Affective Forecasts. Emotion (Washington, D.C.), 13(6), 1023–1029. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0033797

Wilson, T. D., & Gilbert, D. T. (2013). The Impact Bias Is Alive and Well. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 105(5), 740–748. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0032662

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Suggestions for this section:

  • Important aspects include:
    • Wrap the set of references in the hanging indent template. Using "Edit source": {{Hanging indent|1= the full list of references}}
    • Author surname, followed by a comma, then author initials separated by full stops and spaces
    • Year of publication in parentheses
    • Title of work in lower case except first letter and proper names, ending in a full-stop.
    • Journal title in italics, volume number in italics, issue number in parentheses, first and last page numbers separated by a en-dash(–), followed by a full-stop.
    • Provide the full doi as a URL and working hyperlink
  • Common mistakes include:
    • incorrect capitalisation
    • incorrect italicisation
    • providing a "retrieved from" date (not part of APA 7th ed. style).
    • citing sources that weren't actually read or consulted

External links[edit | edit source]

The Impact Bias in Self and Others: Affective and Empathic Forecasting in Individuals with Social Anxiety. (Research Gate)

Impact bias in student evaluations of higher education (Taylor and Francis Online)