Surprise is a fundamental link between cognition and emotion. It is shaped by cognitive assessments of likelihood, intuition, and superstition, and it in turn shapes hedonic experiences. We examine this connection between cognition and emotion and offer an explanation called decision affect theory. Our theory predicts the affective consequences of mistaken beliefs, such as overconfidence and hindsight. It provides insight about why the pleasure of a gain can loom larger than the pain of a comparable loss. Finally, it explains cross-cultural differences in emotional reactions to surprising events. By changing the nature of the unexpected (from chance to good luck), one can alter the emotional reaction to surprising events.