Two distinct theoretical views explain the effects of action/inaction and social normality on anticipated regret. Norm theory (Kahneman & Miller, 1986) emphasises the role of decision mutability, the ease with which one can imagine having made a different choice. Decision justification theory (Connolly & Zeelenberg, 2002) highlights the role of decision justifiability, the perception that the choice was made on a defensible basis, supported by convincing arguments or using a thoughtful, comprehensive decision process. The present paper tests several contrasting predictions from the two theoretical approaches in a series of four studies. Study 1 replicated earlier findings showing greater anticipated regret when the chosen option was abnormal than when it was normal, and perceived justifiability mediated the effect. Study 2 showed that anticipated regret was higher for careless than for careful decisions. Study 3 replicated this finding for a sample holding a different social norm towards the focal decision. Finally, Study 4 found that, when decision carefulness, normality and action/inaction were all specified, only the former showed a significant effect on anticipated regret, and the effect was again mediated by perceived justifiability. Decision justification theory thus appears to provide a better account of anticipated regret intensity in this context than does norm theory.
Anticipated regret, Decision process carefulness, Justifiability, Normality, Regret aversion
Organizational Behavior and Theory
Organisational Behaviour and Human Resources
Emotion and Cognition
Taylor and Francis
REB, Jochen and CONNOLLY, Terry.
The effects of action, normality, and decision carefulness on anticipated regret: Evidence for a broad mediating role of decision justifiability.. (2010). Emotion and Cognition. 24, (8), 1405-1420. Research Collection Lee Kong Chian School Of Business.
Available at: http://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/lkcsb_research/3053
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