Remedying Hyperopia: the Effects of Self-Control Regret on Consumer Behavior

Anat Keinan, Columbia University
Ran Kivetz, Columbia University
The extant literature on self-control is premised on the notion of myopia and assumes that choosing vices generates regret. An alternative perspective proposes that consumers often suffer from a reverse self-control problem, namely excessive farsightedness and over-control, or "hyperopia" (Kivetz and Simonson, 2002; Kivetz and Keinan, 2006). The present research examines whether consumers can foresee the detrimental long-term consequences of hyperopia, and demonstrates the effect of self-control regrets on real choices and actual shopping behavior. The findings indicate that, while consumers' default mindset is narrow and locally focused on behaving responsibly, consumers do anticipate regretting their righteousness when prompted to consider long-term regret. Such long-term self-control regret has an enduring effect on consumer behavior: whereas thinking about short-term regret motivates consumers to choose virtue, thinking about long-term regret impels them to select vices, purchase indulgent products, and spend more money when shopping.
[ to cite ]:
Anat Keinan and Ran Kivetz (2007) ,"Remedying Hyperopia: the Effects of Self-Control Regret on Consumer Behavior", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 34, eds. Gavan Fitzsimons and Vicki Morwitz, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 414-415.