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Affective Forecasting and Its Implications for Medical Ethics


Through a number of studies recently published in the psychology literature, T.D. Wilson, D.T. Gilbert, and others have demonstrated that our judgments about what our future mental states will be are contaminated by various distortions. Their studies distinguish a variety of different distortions, but they refer to them all with the generic term “affective forecasting.” The findings of their studies on normal volunteers are remarkably robust and, therefore, demonstrate that we are all vulnerable to the distortions of affective forecasting.We are grateful for the questions and useful comments we received from our audience when material from this paper was originally presented. The insightful remarks helped us to appreciate what we needed to explain further and to see how our ideas applied to additional domains of medicine: Rhodes R. Affective forecasting and the implications for medical practice. Presented at Medicine Grand Rounds, North General Hospital, New York, Apr 19, 2006. Rhodes R, Strain JJ. Affective forecasting and its implications for medical ethics. Presented at Oxford-Mount Sinai Consortium on Bioethics, St. Thomas's Hospital, King's College London, Apr 24, 2006. Rhodes R. Affective forecasting and its implications for medical ethics near the end of life. Presented at Responding to End-of-Life Decisions: Perspectives from Medicine, Law, and Ethics, International Academy of Law and Mental Health, University of Montreal, May 5, 2006 and at the David Thomasma International Bioethics Retreat, Pellegrue, France, Jun 15, 2006.

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Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics
  • ISSN: 0963-1801
  • EISSN: 1469-2147
  • URL: /core/journals/cambridge-quarterly-of-healthcare-ethics
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