Functional Regret: the Positive Effects of Regret on Learning From Negative Experiences

Noelle Nelson, University of Minnesota, USA
Selin Malkoc, University of Minnesota, USA
Baba Shiv, Stanford University, USA
Prior literature on regret has focused on its negative effects. We propose that regret is functional and guides decision making in a specific way. Manipulation of only the emotional component of experienced regret leads to better performance on decisions within the domain where regret was experienced, but not in dissimilar domains. While negative emotion can harm decision making in dissimilar domains (e.g., making people more impulsive in a shipping task), regret causes learning in the domain it was experienced (e.g., making people more conservative in willingness-to-pay for related products).
[ to cite ]:
Noelle Nelson, Selin Malkoc, and Baba Shiv (2009) ,"Functional Regret: the Positive Effects of Regret on Learning From Negative Experiences", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 901-901.