A Ride to Remember: Experienced vs. Remembered Emotion on Public Transit

TitleA Ride to Remember: Experienced vs. Remembered Emotion on Public Transit
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsNate Bailey, Timothy Patton Doyle, Tolulope Ogunbekun, Jinhua Zhao
Conference Name95th Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting
Date Published08/2015
PublisherTransportation Research Board
Conference LocationWashington, D.C.

Prior research has shown disconnects between the subjective well-being a person experiences during an event and the subjective well-being the same individual remembers once the event has passed. Despite the differences that exist between experience and memory, memory is often used as a basis for making decisions about the future. Measures of utility in transportation decision models have begun to incorporate concepts of subjective well-being. A better understanding of the differences between experience and memory will allow researchers to understand the human decision making process more accurately. This paper describes a survey used to examine differences between experience and memory for riders of public transit. The survey was given to people riding the Boston subway system and respondents were asked to rate the emotions they felt during their trip on several scales. Later, a follow-up survey was given where respondents rated the emotions they remembered feeling on the previously surveyed trip using the same scales. The results of this survey show that there is a statistically significant difference between the emotional net affect reported during the trip and in the follow-up survey. Respondents indicated significantly more emotional satisfaction while onboard than they did when recalling the trip. Significant differences were also found specifically in feelings of comfort and boredom. This research indicates that the subjective well-being which people experience during a trip is not the same as they remember from it, which has possible impacts on the understanding and modeling of transportation decision-making.