How was your day? Convergence of aggregated momentary and retrospective end-of-day affect ratings across the adult life span.

Andreas B. Neubauer, Stacey B. Scott, Martin J. Sliwinski, Joshua M. Smyth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Daily diary studies and experience sampling studies examine day-to-day variations in affect using different rating types: The former typically collect retrospective affect reports at the end of the day, whereas the latter collects multiple momentary assessments across the day. The present study examined the convergence of (aggregated) momentary assessments collected repeatedly within a day and retrospective assessments collected at the end of the day. Building on prior research on the memory-experience gap and the peak-and-end rule we predicted that participants would report more intense retrospective affect than aggregated momentary affect, and that retrospective affect would be biased toward the peak and the most recent affect of the day. Based on socioemotional selectivity theory and the strength and vulnerability integration model, age differences in these convergence indicators were expected. Findings from 2 age-heterogeneous ecological momentary assessment/daily diary hybrid studies (N = 242, 25–65 years; and N = 175, 20–79 years) revealed (a) a memory-experience gap for negative affect (more intense retrospective ratings than aggregated momentary ratings) that is attenuated with advancing age; (b) only a small memory-experience gap for positive affect for very old adults (66–79 years), but not younger adults; (c) relatively high convergence of aggregated momentary ratings and retrospective ratings despite (d) small biases of retrospective negative affect ratings toward peak and most recent negative affect. Findings suggest that both rating types can discriminate “good days” from “bad days” and provide overlapping but not necessarily exchangeable information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-203
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'How was your day? Convergence of aggregated momentary and retrospective end-of-day affect ratings across the adult life span.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this