Journal of Behavioral Decision Making

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Volume 5 Issue 3 (July/September 1992), Pages fmi-fmi, 155-231

Predicting a changing taste: Do people know what they will like? (pages 187-200)


A distinction is made between decision utility, experienced utility, and predicted utility and an experiment is reported addressing people's ability to forecast experienced utility. Subjects in two experiments made predictions of their future liking for stimuli to which they were then exposed daily for one week. The stimuli were ice cream in a pilot study, plain yogurt in the main study, and short musical pieces in both studies. Decreased liking was the modal prediction, even when the true outcome was increased liking, or reduced dislike. There was substantial stability of tastes, but there were also substantial individual differences in the size and even the sign of changes in liking with repeated exposure. There was little or no correlation between the predictions of hedonic change that individuals made and the changes they actually experienced.

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