Regret in decision making

Terry Connolly, Marcel Zeelenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

368 Scopus citations


Decision research has only recently started to take seriously the role of emotions in choices and decisions. Regret is the emotion that has received the most attention. In this article, we sample a number of the initial regret studies from psychology and economics, and trace some of the complexities and contradictions to which they led. We then sketch a new theory, decision justification theory (DJT), which synthesizes several apparently conflicting findings. DJT postulates two core components of decision-related regret, one associated with the (comparative) evaluation of the outcome, the other with the feeling of self-blame for having made a poor choice. We reinterpret several existing studies in DJT terms. We then report some new studies that directly tested (and support) DJT, and propose a number of research issues that follow from this new approach to regret.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)212-216
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Directions in Psychological Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2002


  • Decision justification theory
  • Decision making
  • Emotion
  • Regret

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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