Title

Sex Differences in Regret: All For Love or Some For Lust?

Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

6-2006

Abstract

Few sex differences in regret or counterfactual thinking are evident in past research. The authors discovered a sex difference in regret that is both domain-specific (i.e., unique to romantic relationships) and interpretable within a convergence of theories of evolution and regulatory focus. Three studies showed that within romantic relationships, men emphasize regrets of inaction over action (which correspond to promotion vs. prevention goals, respectively), whereas women report regrets of inaction and action with equivalent frequency. Sex differences were not evident in other interpersonal regrets (friendship, parental, sibling interactions) and were not moderated by relationship status. Although the sex difference was evident in regrets centering on both sexual and nonsexual relationship aspects, it was substantially larger for sexual regrets. These findings underscore the utility of applying an evolutionary perspective to better understand goal-regulating, cognitive processes.

Keywords

sex differences, counterfactual thinking, sexual regrets, cognitive processes, love

Discipline

Gender and Sexuality | Personality and Social Contexts | Social Psychology

Research Areas

Psychology

Publication

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin

Volume

32

Issue

6

First Page

770

Last Page

780

ISSN

0146-1672

Identifier

10.1177/0146167206286709

Publisher

SAGE

Additional URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0146167206286709

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