Take the Scenic Route

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Affective Forecasting...

Affective Forecasting is your ability to predict how you feel at some future time. Incidentally, affect is the word that the hip and cool use to refer to moods/emotions. And by hip and cool, I probably mostly mean psychologists. Technically speaking Affect refers to shorter durations than Mood, and an affective state may be the combination of a variety of emotions. Essentially, you could construe it as the sum total of how you feel *now* or at some other point in time.

Sometime last year I got a free lunch at the Green Acorn to meet with a visiting expert on affective forecasting. Her particular angle was looking at the how reasoning affected your ability to forecast your affect, and I got the free lunch having done some work looking at how reasoning affects some other things. As might be expected, it turns out that we're generally pretty crap at affective forecasting. Effortful activities, in particular, tend to be perceived as less likely to make us happy. So think like going to the gym, going out etc contrasted with staying at home and having a quiet night in. There's nothing too surprising about this. By the late 70s, some scientists were starting to question the validity our introspective processes, and increasingly it appears that although we might think we have access to our own thoughts, it appears that there is a lot of stuff that we don't have access to, and that that stuff can be quite important. Oftentimes, making a quick decision based on a gut feeling is better than listing pros and cons, or even talking about the basis for the decision.

But I digress. (How unusual). There have been a few notable times recently where I've been very unenthused about leaving the house, but surprised at how good leaving the house has been. On Saturday night, I'd had a few glasses of wine[1] and finished watching Frontier of Dreams. Somehow or other, I managed to make a snap decision to go see The Bats, with Operation Rolling Thunder. It was fantastic, and needless to say, I'm starting to question the validity of my affective forecasting. And the no-smoking-in-bars fucking rocks.

[1] Selaks Premium Selection Pinot Noir 2004, highly recommended, especially if you can get it for under $10. I'm not usually a fan of Marlborough Pinots, but this was all types of good. A real sense of lush cheery balanced with some savoury and bordering on chocolate tones. Oh, and by 'recommended', I took all of Pak'n'Slave's shelf stock at $9.95 (usuallly $15).


At Tue Nov 15, 09:34:00 PM GMT+13, Blogger harvestbird said...

I wonder if there's further study to be done on the importance of wine in facilitating helpful affective forecasting? :)

At Wed Nov 16, 12:09:00 PM GMT+13, Blogger limegreen said...

Hmmm, that could be a very productive research avenue. Wine certainly facilitates writing, and er, I find it quite easy to forecast the affective effect of wine. Heh.

At Wed Nov 16, 02:23:00 PM GMT+13, Blogger Jo Hubris said...

My Internet boyfriend likes To use Affective forecasting to Predict he's Going to start smoking Again because of mercury in Retrograe.


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