Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Roger Buehler

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


People often predict they will experience more positive or more negative emotional reactions to upcoming pleasant and unpleasant events respectively, than they actually do. Although researchers have identified several cognitive processes underlying this bias in affective forecasting, the present research examined the role of motivational factors. We proposed that people sometimes generate relatively positive affective forecasts to fixture positive events (or less negative affective forecasts to future negative events) as a mood regulation strategy. That is, they may attempt to cope with threatening negative feelings by anticipating pleasant emotions in the future. More specific hypotheses were derived from recent research examining the impact of negative mood and mood focus on various self-enhancing cognitions. We hypothesised that people would predict more positive feelings to upcoming positive events and less negative feelings when predicting for upcoming negative events when they adopt a reflective focus on their current negative moods (wherein they acknowledge their negative feelings and interpret them as a signal for mood-regulation efforts) rather than a ruminative focus (wherein they dwell passively on their feelings). Results from two studies were generally consistent with this hypothesis. Participants who focussed on their current feelings in a reflective manner predicted more positive future feelings (across predictions for both positive and negative future events) in the negative mood condition than in the neutral mood condition. Those who ruminated on their current feelings showed the opposite pattern.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season