Feeling the Future: The Emotional Oracle Effect
56 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2011
Date Written: October 18, 2011
Eight studies reveal an intriguing phenomenon: Individuals who have higher trust in their feelings can predict the outcomes of future events better than individuals with lower trust in their feelings. This emotional oracle effect was found in a variety of domains, including (a) the 2008 U.S. Democratic presidential nomination, (b) movie box-office success, (c) the winner of American Idol, (d) the stock market, (e) college football, and even (f) the weather. It is mostly high trust in feelings that improves prediction accuracy rather than low trust in feelings that impairs it. This effect occurs only among individuals who possess sufficient background knowledge about the prediction domain, and it dissipates when the prediction criterion becomes inherently unpredictable. The authors hypothesize that this effect arises because trusting one’s feelings encourages access to a “privileged window” into the vast amount of predictive information people learn, often unconsciously, about their environments. How the present research relates to Bem (2011) is also discussed.
Keywords: Affect, Emotion, Prediction, Forecasting
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