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J Consum Psychol. 2007 Jan;17(1):25-28.

Regret and Behavior: Comment on Zeelenberg and Pieters.

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University of Illinois.


Zeelenberg and Pieter's (2007) regret regulation theory 1.0 offers a synthesis that brings together concepts spanning numerous literatures. We have no substantive disagreement with their theory, but instead offer 3 observations to further aid regret researchers studying consumer decision making. First, the overall arch of any regret theory must be situated within an understanding of behavior regulation. Second, the distinction between regrets of action versus inaction is best understood in terms of motivational implications, particularly with regard to Higgin's (1998) distinction between promotion and prevention focus. Third, the opportunity principle offers a particularly clear means of summarizing the regulatory consequences of the regret experience. Regret is an emotion pivotal for decision making, and its cognitive underpinning has and continues to be elucidated in research focusing on counterfactual thinking.

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