Title: ‘Oops…I did it again’: repeated focusing effects in reports of happiness
Authors: Dolan, Paul and Metcalfe, Robert
Publisher: Journal of economic psychology, 31 (4). pp. 732-737
Abstract: We use an experiment (relating to a major European soccer match) to replicate previous studies that show forecasts of the impact of an event on happiness are often greatly exaggerated. In addition, by randomising respondents into one of two groups (assessing happiness before and after the event or only after), we are also able to show that previously focusing on an event can affect subsequent happiness responses. From a final sample of 309 soccer fans contacted via a social networking site, the happiness ratings of the fans of the losing team who answered before and after the soccer match is a whole point lower (on a 0–10 scale) than similar fans who rated their happiness only after the event. The potential spillover of a focusing effect from one survey to the next has important implications for how we interpret happiness responses from longitudinal surveys.