Predicting future affective states: How ease of retrieval and faith in intuition moderate the impact of activated content



Prior research suggests that duration bias—the tendency to overestimate the duration of affective states—is due to individuals' inordinate focus on event-related information. We propose that the impact of focusing on event-related (vs. unrelated) content is moderated by the ease with which the information is brought to mind. In the present experiment, participants thought about a possible future negative event and made affective forecasts after retrieving either few or many aspects in their life that would be affected (or unaffected) by the event. Participants estimated longer duration of affective consequences when they retrieved event-related rather than event-unrelated information. However, this effect was restricted to conditions where the respective information was brought to mind easily. Importantly, results also revealed that individual differences in faith in intuition moderated the effect of manipulated ease of retrieval. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.