Simulating the best and worst of times: the powers and perils of emotional simulation

Victoria Wardell, Matthew D. Grilli, Daniela J. Palombo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


We are remarkably capable of simulating events that we have never experienced. These simulated events often paint an emotional picture to behold, such as the best and worst possible outcomes that we might face. This review synthesises dispersed literature exploring the role of emotion in simulation. Drawing from work that suggests that simulations can influence our preferences, decision-making, and prosociality, we argue for a critical role of emotion in informing the consequences of simulation. We further unpack burgeoning evidence suggesting that the effects of emotional simulation transcend the laboratory. We propose avenues by which emotional simulation may be harnessed for both personal and collective good in applied contexts. We conclude by offering important future directions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1212-1225
Number of pages14
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Decision making
  • emotion
  • episodic future simulation
  • prospection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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