Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2005 Oct;31(10):1413-24.

Looking on the bright side: downward counterfactual thinking in response to negative life events.

Author information

  • 1Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. kate.white@haskayne.ucalgary.ca

Abstract

Past research has found that downward counterfactual thoughts are rarely generated in response to negative life events. However, the authors suggest that under conditions in which self-enhancement motives are prominent, downward counterfactuals will be more frequent than upward counterfactuals. When motives were explicitly manipulated (Study 1), people generated more downward counterfactuals in the self-enhancement than in the self-improvement and control conditions. In Study 2, among those chronically more motivated to self-enhance (i.e., European Canadians), a manipulation of event severity led to the generation of more downward than upward counterfactuals. This finding was mediated by the desire for self-enhancement. In Study 3, cultural background and the opportunity for self-affirmation were related to the generation of downward counterfactuals in expected ways. Implications of these findings are discussed.

PMID:
16143672
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk