Temporal Adjustments in the Evaluation of Events: The "Rosy View"

Terence R. Mitchell, Leigh Thompson, Erika Peterson, Randy Cronk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

366 Scopus citations


In a series of three investigations we examined people's anticipation of, actual experiences in, and subsequent recollection of meaningful life events: a trip to Europe, a Thanksgiving vacation, and a 3-week bicycle trip in California. The results of all three studies supported the hypothesis that people's expectations of personal events are more positive than their actual experience during the event itself, and their subsequent recollection of that event is more positive than the actual experience. The "rosy view" phenomenon is associated with an increase in the number of negative thoughts during the event which seem to be caused by distractions, disappointment, and a less positive view of the self. However, these effects are short-lived; within days after the event, people have much more positive evaluations of the event. We discuss alternative interpretations for our findings and implications for group and organizational settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)421-448
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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