Document Detail

Automatic optimism: the affective basis of judgments about the likelihood of future events.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  19397379     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
People generally judge that the future will be consistent with their desires, but the reason for this desirability bias is unclear. This investigation examined whether affective reactions associated with future events are the mechanism through which desires influence likelihood judgments. In 4 studies, affective reactions were manipulated for initially neutral events. Compared with a neutral condition, events associated with positive reactions were judged as likely to occur, and events associated with negative reactions were judged as unlikely to occur. Desirability biases were reduced when participants could misattribute affective reactions to a source other than future events, and the relationship between affective reactions and judgments was influenced when approach and avoidance motivations were independently manipulated. Together, these findings demonstrate that positive and negative affective reactions to potential events cause the desirability bias in likelihood judgments and suggest that this effect occurs because of a tendency to approach positive possibilities and avoid negative possibilities.
Heather C Lench
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of experimental psychology. General     Volume:  138     ISSN:  0096-3445     ISO Abbreviation:  J Exp Psychol Gen     Publication Date:  2009 May 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2009-04-28     Completed Date:  2009-06-26     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7502587     Medline TA:  J Exp Psychol Gen     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  187-200     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
(c) 2009 APA, all rights reserved.
Department of Psychology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4235, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Association Learning
Life Change Events*
Pattern Recognition, Visual
Probability Learning*
Reality Testing
Risk Assessment*
Subliminal Stimulation
Verbal Learning
Young Adult

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