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'Oops...I did it again': Repeated focusing effects in reports of happiness

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Author Info

  • Dolan, Paul
  • Metcalfe, Robert

Abstract

We use an experiment (relating to a major European soccer match) to replicate previous studies that show forecasts of the impact of an event on happiness are often greatly exaggerated. In addition, by randomising respondents into one of two groups (assessing happiness before and after the event or only after), we are also able to show that previously focusing on an event can affect subsequent happiness responses. From a final sample of 309 soccer fans contacted via a social networking site, the happiness ratings of the fans of the losing team who answered before and after the soccer match is a whole point lower (on a 0-10 scale) than similar fans who rated their happiness only after the event. The potential spillover of a focusing effect from one survey to the next has important implications for how we interpret happiness responses from longitudinal surveys.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Psychology.

Volume (Year): 31 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (August)
Pages: 732-737

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Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:31:y:2010:i:4:p:732-737

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/joep

Related research

Keywords: Happiness Focussing effect Projection bias;

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Cited by:
  1. Witt, Ulrich & Binder, Martin, 2013. "Disentangling motivational and experiential aspects of “utility” – A neuroeconomics perspective," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 27-40.
  2. Beja, Edsel Jr., 2013. "Focusing on the Focusing Illusion..," MPRA Paper 44366, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Paul Dolan & Richard Layard & Robert Metcalfe, 2011. "Measuring subjective well-being for public policy," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 35420, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. Paul Dolan & Richard Layard & Robert Metcalfe, 2011. "Measuring Subjective Wellbeing for Public Policy: Recommendations on Measures," CEP Special Papers 23, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.

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