Regret as autobiographical memory

I.M. Davison, Aidan Feeney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


We apply all autobiographical memory framework to the Study of regret. Focusing oil the distinction between regrets for specific and general events we argue that the temporal profile of regret, usually explained in terms of the action-inaction distinction, is predicted by models of autobiographical memory. In two studies involving Participants in their sixties we demonstrate a reminiscence bump for general, but not for specific regrets. Recent regrets were more likely to be specific than general in nature. Coding regrets as actions/inactions revealed that general regrets were significantly more likely to be due to inaction while specific regrets were as likely to be clue to action as to inaction. In Study 2 we also generalised all of these findings to a group of participants in their 40s. We re-interpret existing accounts of the temporal profile of regret within the autobiographical memory framework, and Outline the practical and theoretical advantages Of Our memory-based distinction over traditional decision-making approaches to the Study of regret. (C) 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-403
Number of pages19
JournalCognitive Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language


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