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Affective Forecasting in Travel Mode Choice
Karlstad University, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Communication and IT, Department of Psychology.
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The general aim of this thesis was to investigate affective forecasting in the context of public transport.

Paper I, Study 1 revealed that non-users of public transport were less satisfied with the services than users. It was hypothesised that non-users were biased in their satisfaction ratings, a claim that was subsequently investigated in Paper I, Study 2, where a field experiment revealed that car users suffer from an impact bias, due to being more satisfied with the services after a trial period than they predicted they would be. To address the question of whether a focusing illusion is the psychological mechanism responsible for this bias, two experiments containing critical incidents were conducted in Paper II. These experiments investigated whether car users exaggerate the impact that specific incidents have on their future satisfaction with public transport. A negative critical incident generated lower predicted satisfaction with public transport, both for car users with a stated intention to change their current travel mode (in Paper II, Study 1) and for car users with no stated intention to change their travel mode (in Paper II, Study 2), which support the hypothesis that the impact bias in car users’ predictions about future satisfaction with public transport is caused by a focusing illusion. Paper III showed that car users misremember their satisfaction with public transport as a result of their recollections of satisfaction with public transport being lower than their on-line experienced satisfaction. Additionally, the desire to repeat the public transport experience is explained only by remembered satisfaction, not by on-line experienced satisfaction. Paper IV investigated whether a defocusing technique would counteract the focusing illusion by introducing a broader context, thereby generating higher predicted satisfaction. A generic defocusing technique, conducted in Paper IV, Study 1, did not generate higher predicted satisfaction, whereas a self-relevant defocusing technique conducted in Paper IV, Study 2 generated higher predicted satisfaction with public transport. Additionally, it was found that car-use habit accounts for the level of predicted satisfaction regardless of defocusing; the stronger the car-use habit, the lower the predicted satisfaction.

The conclusions from this thesis are that non-users of public transport rate the services lower than users do, and that car users become more satisfied when using the services than they predicted. These mispredictions are a result of over-focusing on a limited range of aspects in public transport (i.e., a focusing illusion). Car users’ desire to repeat the public transport experience is influenced by their inaccurate memories of the services and not by their actual experiences. However, defocusing techniques may help car users make more accurate predictions about future satisfaction with public transport; this could facilitate a mode switch from using the car to using public transport services more often. Switching to a more sustainable transport mode could be beneficial for the individual and for society.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstad University , 2011. , 33 p.
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2011:58
Keyword [en]
Affective Forecasting, Satisfaction, Focusing Illusion, Defocusing, Public Transport, Travel Mode Choice
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-8685ISBN: 978-91-7063-396-6 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-8685DiVA: diva2:451724
Public defence
2011-12-09, Erlandersalen, 11D 227, Karlstads universitet, Karlstad, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2011-11-21 Created: 2011-10-26 Last updated: 2011-11-21Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Affective forecasting: Predicting and Experiencing Satisfaction with Public Transportation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Affective forecasting: Predicting and Experiencing Satisfaction with Public Transportation
2011 (English)In: Journal of Applied Social Psychology, ISSN 0021-9029, E-ISSN 1559-1816, Vol. 41, no 8, 1926-1946 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Affective forecasting in public transport was investigated in 2 studies. Study 1 revealed differences in satisfaction between users (n = 870) and non-users (n = 137). Users were more satisfied than were non-users with regard to reliability and safety, as well as with regard to overall satisfaction. It was also found that non-users mispredicted their satisfaction with public transport. Study 2 revealed that habitual car users (n = 106) reported greater satisfaction after using public transport for 1 month than they had predicted initially, which provided additional support for the hypothesis that habitual car users would mispredict their satisfaction with public transport. Satisfaction with public transport also increased in comparison with a random sample of car users (n = 63).

National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-4967 (URN)10.1111/j.1559-1816.2011.00789.x (DOI)000293909100005 ()
Available from: 2009-11-25 Created: 2009-11-25 Last updated: 2015-01-29Bibliographically approved
2. Effects of Critical Incidents on Car Users' Predicted Satisfaction with Public Transport
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Effects of Critical Incidents on Car Users' Predicted Satisfaction with Public Transport
2011 (English)In: Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, ISSN 1369-8478, 138-146 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The present study examines the hypothesis that car users’ affective forecasts of satisfaction with public transport are biased by a focusing illusion. In Study 1, 54 car users with a stated intent to change travel mode read descriptions of a positive, a negative or a neutral critical incident. They were asked to predict their satisfaction with public transport if the incident occurred. In Study 2, 38 car users with no stated intent to change travel mode read descriptions of a positive or a negative critical incident. They were asked to predict their satisfaction with the service if the incident occurred. The results from Studies 1 and 2 showed that focus on a negative critical incident significantly generated lower predicted satisfaction. Thus, the study show that predicted satisfaction is altered when car users focus on negative critical incidents.

National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-4968 (URN)10.1016/j.trf.2010.11.005 (DOI)000288637300006 ()
Available from: 2009-11-25 Created: 2009-11-25 Last updated: 2015-01-29Bibliographically approved
3. The role of predicted, on-line experienced and remembered satisfaction in current choice to use public transport services
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The role of predicted, on-line experienced and remembered satisfaction in current choice to use public transport services
2011 (English)In: Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, ISSN 0969-6989, E-ISSN 1873-1384, Vol. 18, no 5, 471-475 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A longitudinal field study investigated the role of predicted, on-line experienced and remembered satisfaction in the current use of public transport. Sixty-two car users voluntarily travelled by public transport for a period of one month and ratings of predicted, on-line experienced and remembered satisfaction were collected. The results showed that remembered satisfaction with public transport was significantly lower than on-line experienced satisfaction. Furthermore, overall remembered satisfaction accounted for current public transport use, whereas on-line experienced satisfaction did not. Results suggest that recollection of satisfaction with public transport is negatively biased. This bias affects current choice to travel by public transport.

National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-8784 (URN)10.1016/j.jretconser.2011.06.013 (DOI)
Available from: 2011-11-21 Created: 2011-11-21 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
4. Counteracting the focusing illusion: Effects of defocusing on car users’ predicted satisfaction with public transport
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Counteracting the focusing illusion: Effects of defocusing on car users’ predicted satisfaction with public transport
2012 (English)In: Journal of Environmental Psychology, ISSN 0272-4944, E-ISSN 1522-9610, Vol. 32, no 1, 30-36 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Car users underestimate their potential satisfaction with public transport due to a focusing illusion (i.e., focusing on a too narrow range of aspects related to the focal event). To investigate whether a defocusing technique would increase car users’ predicted satisfaction with public transport, the effects of defocusing techniques, generic (Study 1) and self-relevant (Study 2), were investigated. In Study 1 (estimate daily time spent on ten pre-selected activities), the generic defocusing technique did not generate higher predicted satisfaction with public transport. In Study 2, the self-relevant defocusing technique generated higher predicted satisfaction on quality attributes, namely satisfaction with the number of departures, the number of available seats and the condition of the vehicles, in comparison with controls. It is concluded that the self-relevant defocusing technique applied in Study 2 (state your various everyday activities and describe how much time you engage in them) was successful in making car users take into account activities in life that will remain unchanged if they were to use public transport for their daily travel. Additionally, in Studies 1 and 2, it was found that car-use habit, regardless of the experimental condition, influenced the magnitude of predicted satisfaction, that is, the higher the car-use habit, the lower the predicted satisfaction with public transport.

National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-8785 (URN)10.1016/j.jenvp.2011.10.004 (DOI)000300141500004 ()
Available from: 2011-11-21 Created: 2011-11-21 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved

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