The relationship between counterfactual thinking and emotional reactions to event outcomes: Does one account fit all?

L. Atkinson, D. Bell, Aidan Feeney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

By enabling a comparison between what is and what might have been, counterfactual thoughts amplify our emotional responses to bad outcomes. Well-known demonstrations such as the action effect (the tendency to attribute most regret to a character whose actions brought about a bad outcome) and the temporal order effect (the tendency to undo the last in a series of events leading up to a bad outcome) are often explained in this way. An important difference between these effects is that outcomes are due to decisions in the action effect, whereas in the temporal order effect outcomes are achieved by chance. In Experiment 1, we showed that imposing time pressure leads to a significant reduction in the action but not in the temporal order effect. In Experiment 2, we found that asking participants to evaluate the protagonists (
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)724-728
Number of pages5
JournalPSYCHONOMIC BULLETIN & REVIEW
Volume16
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

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