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Human Behavior and Experiences in Real-Life : The Potential of In-the-Moment Assessment

Human Behavior and Experiences in Real-Life : The Potential of In-the-Moment Assessment

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VILLINGER, Karoline, 2019. Human Behavior and Experiences in Real-Life : The Potential of In-the-Moment Assessment [Dissertation]. Konstanz: University of Konstanz

@phdthesis{Villinger2019Human-46232, title={Human Behavior and Experiences in Real-Life : The Potential of In-the-Moment Assessment}, year={2019}, author={Villinger, Karoline}, address={Konstanz}, school={Universität Konstanz} }

Villinger, Karoline 2019-07-05T09:14:01Z 2019 terms-of-use Villinger, Karoline eng 2019-07-05T09:14:01Z An affective experience exists in different states - what we forecast the experience to be, what we experience in the actual moment, and what we remember having experienced. However, neither forecasted nor remembered experience is an exact copy of the in-the-moment experience. A great number of studies across various populations and settings has shown that both forecasted and retrospectively remembered experiences tend to be too extreme and systematically biased compared to the actual in-the-moment experience (‘impact bias‘). Most research has examined biases and the resulting divergences between states of experience for outstanding and rather confined events, such as a vacation experiences or medical treatments. The present dissertation expands on this research by focusing on repeated, familiar experiences of daily life, taking eating happiness as an example to enhance the generalizability of the divergence of both forecasts and retrospections compared to in-the-moment experiences. The differentiation between outstanding and repeated day-to-day experiences is important since in the latter case, people have individual past experiences that they can rely on.<br /><br />In a first step, the correspondence between eating happiness as experienced in the moment and forecasted as well as retrospective eating happiness was examined in a real-life setting, taking the entire food intake of participants into account. Comparing eating happiness experienced in the moment to forecasted eating happiness revealed the prevalence of a considerable discrepancy whose magnitude was affected by both person-specific differences such as dispositional expectations towards eating (‘foodiness’) and experience-specific aspects such as the variability of the in-the-moment experience. More specifically, people with a low tendency towards foodiness displayed not only more variability in their in-the-moment experiences but also a greater discrepancy between forecasted and in-the-moment experiences compared to people with a high tendency towards foodiness. However, no interaction was revealed between dispositional expectation and variability of in-the-moment experiences regarding forecasting accuracy, indicating that the variability of the in-the-moment experience impacts the accuracy of forecasts equally across all participants.<br /><br />Furthermore, retrospective eating happiness as manifested in the general belief that unhealthy foods are tasty, was compared to eating happiness experienced in the moment. The results across food categories and meal types indicated that the general belief does not represent the actual in-the-moment experience correctly. Specifically, the consumption of healthy choices such as fruits and vegetables and stereotypically unhealthy choices such as sweets and pastries evoked comparable eating happiness in the moment of consumption. In addition, analyses on the meal level revealed comparable eating happiness for dinner and snacking.<br /><br />The second step focused on the actual in-the-moment experience. The potential and effectiveness of mobile technologies such as smartphone apps that have the technical capability to counteract both biases in forecasts and retrospections by focusing on in-the-moment behavior and experiences was examined. More specifically, a systematic review and meta-analysis including 41 studies and 373 outcomes was conducted to examine the effectiveness of app-based mobile interventions that target nutrition behaviors and nutrition-related health outcomes. The results indicated a positive effect of app-based mobile interventions for changing both nutrition behaviors and nutrition-related health outcomes, including obesity indices and blood parameters. In addition, moderator analysis including study design, type of app, sample, and intervention characteristics, did not reveal significant effects, which underlines the potential of interventions that use an in-the-moment approach.<br /><br />Discussing the findings of the present dissertation, benefits and trade-offs regarding the assessment of different states of an affective experience are displayed. Furthermore, the validity of forecasted, in-the-moment and retrospective experience regarding different life domains and research aims is discussed along with the implications and functions of overestimations in forecasts and retrospective evaluations. Following this, the potential and opportunities of smartphone apps not only to change behaviors and related outcomes but also to increase learning from past experiences are illustrated, demonstrating a possibility to improve the correspondence between forecasted, retrospective and in-the-moment experiences. Human Behavior and Experiences in Real-Life : The Potential of In-the-Moment Assessment

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