People ignore their personalities when predicting future happiness

Washington, Jan 13 (ANI): Scientists have explained why humans are notoriously bad at predicting their future happiness.

Jordi Quoidbach from the University of Liege, Belgium, suggested that part of the reason for these mispredictions lies in failing to recognize the key role played by one's own personality when determining future emotional reactions.

Quoidbach and his partner, Elizabeth Dunn, from the University of British Columbia, found that our natural sunny or negative dispositions might be a more powerful predictor of future happiness than any specific event.

They also discovered that most of us ignore our own personalities when we think about what lies ahead and thus miscalculate our future feelings.

They call this phenomenon "personality neglect," which they tested in connection with the 2008 U.S. presidential election.

In early October 2008, a large sample of Belgians predicted how they would feel the day after the U.S. presidential election if Barack Obama won and how they would feel if John McCain won.

Then the day after the election, they reported how they actually felt, and completed personality tests. Nearly everyone in the study supported Obama, so most predicted they would be happy if he won.

Although participants' personalities did not influence their predictions, people's actual feelings the day after the election closely lined up with their personalities.

That is, the grumpy supporters remained relatively grumpy, despite the celebratory event. They "forgot" their own tendency for malaise and overestimated how happy they would be.

The positive individuals were more accurate in their forecasting because their natural joie de vivre prevailed.

The finding was published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. (ANI)

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