Cognitive forecasting and its link to life satisfaction: An investigation of accurate and optimistic prospection and retrospection.
Prospection can be defined as mental representations of possible futures which individuals use to make daily decisions. The current study aimed to assess the links between a specific type of prospection, cognitive forecasting of life satisfaction, and various wellbeing and illbeing indicators. More specifically, this study aimed to assess individuals’ accuracy at cognitive forecasting, their accuracy at retrospective recall of life satisfaction, and the optimism of their life satisfaction forecasts in relation to wellbeing and illbeing indicators. To assess life satisfaction in the past, present, and future, we used the Temporal Satisfaction with Life Scale. Data from 576 English speaking individuals who took part in the International Wellbeing Study was analysed. Results showed that, as expected, individuals who exceeded their predictions of future life satisfaction and those who were accurate had stronger relationships with wellbeing indicators, while individuals who did not meet their expectations had stronger relationships with illbeing indicators. For retrospective recall, contrary to our expectations, individuals who believed their past life satisfaction to be worse than it had been and those who were accurate had stronger relationships with wellbeing indicators, while those who believed their past life satisfaction to be better than it had been had stronger relationships with illbeing indicators. Finally, regarding optimism of forecasts, and also contrary to our expectations, it was found that optimistic individuals had stronger relationships with illbeing indicators, while less optimistic individuals had stronger relationships with wellbeing indicators. Our results are interpreted following the Relative Standards Model.
Copyright (c) 2022 Joline Guitard, Aaron Jarden
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