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Darren Dahl (Editor in Chief)Eileen FischerGita JoharVicki Morwitz

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Forecasting and Backcasting: Predicting the Impact of Events on the Future

Jane E. J. Ebert, Daniel T. Gilbert, Timothy D. Wilson
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/598793 353-366 First published online: 1 October 2009


In many choices they make—for example, choosing between a movie and a play or deciding whether to attend a sports game shortly before a birthday party—consumers are guided by how they expect an event will make them feel. They may predict their feelings by forecasting (imagining their feelings when the impacting event occurs, then considering how those feelings might change over time) or by backcasting (imagining their feelings in a future period, then considering how those feelings might be different were the impacting event to happen). Four studies show that backcasters expect events to have a greater hedonic impact than do forecasters, largely because they think more about the impacting event. The studies also reveal that backcasters consider other information that forecasters tend to ignore.

  • Aesthetic/Hedonic Consumption
  • Affect/Emotions/Mood
  • Experimental Design and Analysis (ANOVA)
  • Judgment and Decision Making
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