Consuming experience: Why affective forecasters overestimate comparative value

Carey K. Morewedge, Daniel T. Gilbert, Kristian Ove Myrseth, Karim S Kassam, Timothy D. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


The hedonic value of an outcome can be influenced by the alternatives to which it is compared, which is why people expect to be happier with outcomes that maximize comparative value (e.g., the best of several mediocre alternatives) than with outcomes that maximize absolute value (e.g., the worst of several excellent alternatives). The results of five experiments suggest that affective forecasters overestimate the importance of comparative value because forecasters do not realize that comparison requires cognitive resources, and that experiences consume more cognitive resources than do forecasts. In other words, because forecasters overestimate the extent to which they will be able to think about what they did not get while experiencing what they got.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)986–992
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010


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