Forecasting and Backcasting: Predicting the Impact of Events on the Future

Jane E. J. Ebert, University of Minnesota
Daniel T. Gilbert, Harvard University
Consumers may predict the future impact of a hedonic consumption event (e.g., a hedonic experience or purchase) by forecasting (i.e., imagining how the event will make them feel when it happens, then considering how those feelings might change over time) or by backcasting (i.e., imagining their usual feelings in a future state, then considering how different those feelings might be were the event to happen). Four studies show that backcasters produce different hedonic predictions from forecasters and consider important characteristics of the future that forecasters tend to ignore. A simple primacy or recency explanation is insufficient to explain these findings.
[ to cite ]:
Jane E. J. Ebert and Daniel T. Gilbert (2007) ,"Forecasting and Backcasting: Predicting the Impact of Events on the Future", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 34, eds. Gavan Fitzsimons and Vicki Morwitz, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 546-550.