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Coping strategies and immune neglect in affective forecasting: Direct evidence and key moderators

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  • Michael Hoerger
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    Abstract

    Affective forecasting skills have important implications for decision making. However, recent research suggests that immune neglect---the tendency to overlook coping strategies that reduce future distress---may lead to affective forecasting problems. Prior evidence for immune neglect has been indirect. More direct evidence and a deeper understanding of immune neglect are vital to informing the design of future decision-support interventions. In the current study, young adults (N = 325) supplied predicted, actual, and recollected reactions to an emotionally-evocative interpersonal event, Valentine's Day. Based on participants' qualitative descriptions of the holiday, a team of raters reliably coded the effectiveness of their coping strategies. Supporting the immune neglect hypothesis, participants overlooked the powerful role of coping strategies when predicting their emotional reactions. Immune neglect was present not only for those experiencing the holiday negatively (non-daters) but also for those experiencing it positively (daters), suggesting that the bias may be more robust than originally theorized. Immune neglect was greater for immediate emotional reactions than more enduring reactions. Further, immune neglect was conspicuously absent from recollected emotional reactions. Implications for decision-support interventions are discussed.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Society for Judgment and Decision Making in its journal Judgment and Decision Making.

    Volume (Year): 7 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 86-96

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    Handle: RePEc:jdm:journl:v:7:y:2012:i:1:p:86-96

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    Keywords: affective forecasting; immune neglect; impact bias; coping fallacy; learning.;

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    1. Gisela B�hm & Hans-R�diger Pfister, 2008. "Anticipated and experienced emotions in environmental risk perception," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 3, pages 73-86, January.
    2. Dillard, Amanda J. & Fagerlin, Angela & Cin, Sonya Dal & Zikmund-Fisher, Brian J. & Ubel, Peter A., 2010. "Narratives that address affective forecasting errors reduce perceived barriers to colorectal cancer screening," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 45-52, July.
    3. Kartik Athreya, 2004. "Shame as it ever was : stigma and personal bankruptcy," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Spr, pages 1-19.
    4. Loewenstein, George & Ubel, Peter A., 2008. "Hedonic adaptation and the role of decision and experience utility in public policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(8-9), pages 1795-1810, August.
    5. Gisela Boehm & Wibecke Brun, 2008. "Introduction to the special issue: Intuition and affect in risk perception and decision making," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 3, pages 1-4, January.
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    Cited by:
    1. Ulrich Witt & Martin Binder, 2011. "Disentangling Motivational and Experiential Aspects of "Utility" - A Neuroeconomics Perspective," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2011-20, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.

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