Impact bias

We overestimate duration and intensity of future emotional states. Eg. If we breakup, it will kill me.


  • People have created cultural theories and had experiences that greatly influence beliefs of how an event will affect us. For example, our culture has emphasized a correlation between wealth and happiness, however despite this belief; money does not necessarily bring happiness.
  • Often when making a prediction of the impact of an event people focus solely on the event in question. This ignores the fact that with the passage of time, other events will occur that influence happiness.


  • These mistaken projections affect people's ability to make decisions that maximize their happiness.
  • People are influenced by their current emotion when recalling their past emotions. This can explain why people do not learn from their mistakes, and make more accurate forecasts.