The impact of doubt on the experience of regret

Philippe P.F.M. van de Calseyde (Corresponding author), Marcel Zeelenberg, Ellen R.K. Evers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Decisions often produce considerable levels of doubt and regret, yet little is known about how these experiences are related. In six sets of studies (and two pilot-studies; total N = 2268), we consistently find that doubts arising after a decision (i.e., when people start questioning whether they made the correct decision) intensify regret via increased feelings of blame for having made a poor choice. These results are consistent with decision justification theory (Connolly & Zeelenberg, 2002) and regret regulation theory (Zeelenberg & Pieters, 2007), yet inconsistent with subjective expected pleasure theory (SEP; Mellers, Schwartz, & Ritov, 1999). That is, SEP would have predicted less regret as those who already doubted their decision should be less surprised when learning that their decision indeed could have been better (as compared to those who were certain that they made the correct decision). We find mixed results for the effect of post-decisional doubt on the experience of relief and no support for a relationship between a person's degree of doubt before a decision and the intensity of regret. Implications and future directions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-110
Number of pages14
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Volume149
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018

Fingerprint

Emotions
Decision Theory
Pleasure
Learning

Keywords

  • Action effect
  • Decision justification theory
  • Doubt
  • Regret
  • Subjective expected pleasure theory

Cite this

@article{69c0f1dcfdeb4a2db6da189ed34d4485,
title = "The impact of doubt on the experience of regret",
abstract = "Decisions often produce considerable levels of doubt and regret, yet little is known about how these experiences are related. In six sets of studies (and two pilot-studies; total N = 2268), we consistently find that doubts arising after a decision (i.e., when people start questioning whether they made the correct decision) intensify regret via increased feelings of blame for having made a poor choice. These results are consistent with decision justification theory (Connolly & Zeelenberg, 2002) and regret regulation theory (Zeelenberg & Pieters, 2007), yet inconsistent with subjective expected pleasure theory (SEP; Mellers, Schwartz, & Ritov, 1999). That is, SEP would have predicted less regret as those who already doubted their decision should be less surprised when learning that their decision indeed could have been better (as compared to those who were certain that they made the correct decision). We find mixed results for the effect of post-decisional doubt on the experience of relief and no support for a relationship between a person's degree of doubt before a decision and the intensity of regret. Implications and future directions are discussed.",
keywords = "Action effect, Decision justification theory, Doubt, Regret, Subjective expected pleasure theory",
author = "{van de Calseyde}, {Philippe P.F.M.} and Marcel Zeelenberg and Evers, {Ellen R.K.}",
year = "2018",
month = "11",
doi = "10.1016/j.obhdp.2018.08.006",
language = "English",
volume = "149",
pages = "97--110",
journal = "Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes",
issn = "0749-5978",
publisher = "Academic Press Inc.",

}

The impact of doubt on the experience of regret. / van de Calseyde, Philippe P.F.M. (Corresponding author); Zeelenberg, Marcel; Evers, Ellen R.K.

In: Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Vol. 149, 11.2018, p. 97-110.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - The impact of doubt on the experience of regret

AU - van de Calseyde, Philippe P.F.M.

AU - Zeelenberg, Marcel

AU - Evers, Ellen R.K.

PY - 2018/11

Y1 - 2018/11

N2 - Decisions often produce considerable levels of doubt and regret, yet little is known about how these experiences are related. In six sets of studies (and two pilot-studies; total N = 2268), we consistently find that doubts arising after a decision (i.e., when people start questioning whether they made the correct decision) intensify regret via increased feelings of blame for having made a poor choice. These results are consistent with decision justification theory (Connolly & Zeelenberg, 2002) and regret regulation theory (Zeelenberg & Pieters, 2007), yet inconsistent with subjective expected pleasure theory (SEP; Mellers, Schwartz, & Ritov, 1999). That is, SEP would have predicted less regret as those who already doubted their decision should be less surprised when learning that their decision indeed could have been better (as compared to those who were certain that they made the correct decision). We find mixed results for the effect of post-decisional doubt on the experience of relief and no support for a relationship between a person's degree of doubt before a decision and the intensity of regret. Implications and future directions are discussed.

AB - Decisions often produce considerable levels of doubt and regret, yet little is known about how these experiences are related. In six sets of studies (and two pilot-studies; total N = 2268), we consistently find that doubts arising after a decision (i.e., when people start questioning whether they made the correct decision) intensify regret via increased feelings of blame for having made a poor choice. These results are consistent with decision justification theory (Connolly & Zeelenberg, 2002) and regret regulation theory (Zeelenberg & Pieters, 2007), yet inconsistent with subjective expected pleasure theory (SEP; Mellers, Schwartz, & Ritov, 1999). That is, SEP would have predicted less regret as those who already doubted their decision should be less surprised when learning that their decision indeed could have been better (as compared to those who were certain that they made the correct decision). We find mixed results for the effect of post-decisional doubt on the experience of relief and no support for a relationship between a person's degree of doubt before a decision and the intensity of regret. Implications and future directions are discussed.

KW - Action effect

KW - Decision justification theory

KW - Doubt

KW - Regret

KW - Subjective expected pleasure theory

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85054573687&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.obhdp.2018.08.006

DO - 10.1016/j.obhdp.2018.08.006

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85054573687

VL - 149

SP - 97

EP - 110

JO - Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes

JF - Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes

SN - 0749-5978

ER -