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ERIC Number: EJ837487
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-May
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 51
ISSN: ISSN-0096-3445
Automatic Optimism: The Affective Basis of Judgments about the Likelihood of Future Events
Lench, Heather C.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, v138 n2 p187-200 May 2009
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. (Contains 3 figures and 1 footnote.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A