Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2022

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School




Program or Major

Psychology- Honors

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

First Advisor

Jolie Wormwood


The ability to accurately predict future feelings and emotions, termed affective forecasting, is an important skill as it has a significant impact on the decisions individuals make throughout daily life. Previous research has suggested that depression and anxiety symptoms may be linked to biases in affective forecasting. Here, we hypothesized that greater symptom severity of depression and anxiety would be associated with increased predictions and experiences of negative affect in response to negative stimuli and decreased predictions and experiences of positive affect in response to positive stimuli among a random sample of undergraduate college students. Participants read descriptions of 20 affective pictures which varied in terms of their normative valence and arousal. Based on the provided descriptions, participants rated their predicted affective reaction to each picture in terms of valence and arousal, as well as the extent to which they predicted they’d experience a number of specific emotions while viewing each picture. One week later, participants viewed the pictures and rated their experienced affect and emotion to each. Results revealed that individuals with greater depression or anxiety symptom severity: predicted (but did not experience) more negative affect for negative stimuli and experienced (but did not predict) less positive affect for positive stimuli. In addition, individuals with greater anxiety symptom severity tended to overestimate the extent to which they would feel activated in response to negative stimuli. Taken together, our findings suggest that depression and anxiety symptoms may negatively influence the ability for an individual to make accurate affective forecasts.