Monday, November 7, 2011

Temporal Fluctuations in Outcome Predictions: Sobering Up at the Moment of Truth

Monday, November 7th
12:00-1:30 pm
SBSG 1517


Kate Sweeny, PhD
Department of Psychology
University of California, Riverside



View Dr. Sweeny's faculty website
For abstract, click 'read more' below

Abstract: Although people’s outlook on the future tends to be characterized by hope and optimism, over time this outlook often becomes more dire. This talk will provide a brief overview of the research on this tendency to “sober up” in our expectations as feedback draws near, and it will suggest factors critical to promoting these temporal declines in expectations. To this end, the talk also will summarize the results of a recent meta-analysis examining declines in expectations, which revealed a robust and ubiquitous tendency (with important exceptions) to lower our expectations as the moment of feedback draws near. Finally, the talk will include discussion of several studies demonstrating the consequences of expectations for emotional and behavioral responses to feedback. As a whole, this research reveals an important exception to positive illusions about the future and suggests that time-sensitive pessimism has adaptive functions.