Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: October 03, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412956253 | Print ISBN: 9781412916707 | Online ISBN: 9781412956253| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Regret is the negative emotion that people experience when realizing or imagining that their present situation would have been better had they decided or acted differently. Regret thus originates in a comparison between outcomes of a chosen option and the nonchosen alternatives in which the latter outperforms the former. This painful emotion reflects on one's own causal role in the current, suboptimal situation. The emotion regret is accompanied by feelings that one should have known better, by having a sinking feeling, by thoughts about the mistake one has made and the opportunities lost, by tendencies to kick oneself and to correct one's mistake, by desires to undo the event and get a second chance, and by actually doing this if given the opportunity. Put differently, regret is experienced as an aversive state that focuses one's attention on one's own causal role in the occurrence of a negative outcome. It is ...