Regulatory Focus and Regret

People often think about whether acting in a certain way will cause regret in case of obtaining a negative result. We propose that anticipated regret may have a self-regulatory function, which has a cruical influence on people´s experiences and behavior. The main aim of the present research project is to connect two research lines, that haven´t been related to each other so far: the influence of regret on decision-making and the role of self-regulation in people´s experiences and behavior. The influence of experienced and anticipated regret and its interaction with self-regulatory mechanisms will be examined in different domains. The project bases on three main assumptions. First, it is assumed that regret in many situations is anticipated and experienced more strongly by individuals who endorse a motivational orientation concerned with attaining positive end-states by avoiding mistakes. It is further proposed, however, that regret can be caused by different kinds of information present in the choice context, and therefore may also be anticipated and experienced by individuals endorsing different motivational orientations, and influence their behavior as well. Finally, it is assumed that the anticipation of regret is related to an increased general arousal, which strengthens people´s tendency to adopt thinking styles behavior based on their individually dominant motivational orientation. Thus, the proposed analysis of the interaction between regret and self-regulatory processes applies the logic of a general psychological mechanism derived from research on social influence.



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