The impact bias
, a form of which is the durability bias
, in affective forecasting
, is the tendency for people to overestimate the length or the intensity of future feeling states.
In other words, people seem to think that if disaster strikes it will take longer to recover emotionally than it actually does. Conversely, if a happy event occurs, people overestimate how long they will emotionally benefit from it.
Daniel Gilbert and Timothy Wilson first identified this bias, and proposed the name change to refer more broadly to all forms of emotional "impact", including durability as well as intensity, and the rate of ascension and descension, etc. Daniel Kahneman has also contributed research on this cognitive bias.
- Video of Gilbert discussing humans' failure to predict what makes us happy. Presented July 2005 at the TED Conference in Oxford, UK. Duration: 22:02
- Gilbert, D. T., Pinel, E. C., Wilson, T. D., Blumberg, S. J. & Wheatley, T. P. (1998). Immune neglect: A source of durability bias in affective forecasting. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 617-638. Full text (PDF)
- Gertner, J. The Future Pursuit of Happiness. New York Times Magazine, September 7, 2003. Online here Reprint