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

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).


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.


Noelle Nelson, University of Minnesota, USA
Selin Malkoc, University of Minnesota, USA
Baba Shiv, Stanford University, USA


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36 | 2009

Share Proceeding

Featured papers

See More


My Money is Yours, but My Time is Still Mine: Inseparability of Consumption from the Self Increases Control and Giving

John P. Costello, Ohio State University, USA
Selin A. Malkoc, Ohio State University, USA

Read More


Cultivating Collaboration and Value Cocreation in Consumption Journeys

Melissa Archpru Akaka, University of Denver
Hope Schau, University of Arizona, USA

Read More


When products become autonomous: Drawbacks of a perceived lack of control and how to resolve it

Moritz Joerling, RWTH Aachen University
Robert Böhm, RWTH Aachen University
Stefanie Paluch, RWTH Aachen University

Read More

Engage with Us

Becoming an Association for Consumer Research member is simple. Membership in ACR is relatively inexpensive, but brings significant benefits to its members.