The impact bias is alive and well

J Pers Soc Psychol. 2013 Nov;105(5):740-8. doi: 10.1037/a0032662.


A substantial body of research on affective forecasting has found that people often overestimate the affective impact of future events. Levine, Lench, Kaplan, and Safer (2012) argued that whereas people may overestimate the duration of their emotional responses, they do not overestimate the initial intensity of these responses as much as previous research has suggested. We suggest that Levine et al. (a) failed to review or include in their meta-analysis many studies that directly contradict their claim, (b) used a faulty classification scheme, (c) collapsed across conditions that were meant to (and did) produce opposing effects, and (d) miscoded some of the studies they did include. When these errors are corrected, their claim is clearly not supported. Levine et al. also reported the results of 4 studies, which are open to alternative explanations. The impact bias is alive and well.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Affect / physiology*
  • Female
  • Forecasting*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Thinking / physiology*