Empathic forecasting: How do we predict other people's feelings?

M.M.H. Pollmann, C. Finkenauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

When making affective forecasts, people commit the impact bias. They overestimate the impact an emotional event has on their affective experience. In three studies we show that people also commit the impact bias when making empathic forecasts, affective forecasts for someone else. They overestimate the impact an emotional event has on someone else's affective experience (Study 1), they do so for friends and strangers (Study 2), and they do so when other sources of information are available (Study 3). Empathic forecasting accuracy, the correlation between one person's empathic forecast and another person's actual affective experience, was lower than between-person forecasting correspondence, the correlation between one person's empathic forecast and another person's affective forecast. Empathic forecasts do not capture other people's actual experience very well but are similar to what other people forecast for themselves. This may enhance understanding between people.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)978-1001
JournalCognition and Emotion
Volume23
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Keywords

  • Affective forecasting
  • Social projection
  • Accuracy
  • Impact bias

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