Myopic regret avoidance: Feedback avoidance and learning in repeated decision making

Jochen Reb, Terry Connolly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

Decision makers can become trapped by myopic regret avoidance in which rejecting feedback to avoid short-term outcome regret (regret associated with counterfactual outcome comparisons) leads to reduced learning and greater long-term regret over continuing poor decisions. In a series of laboratory experiments involving repeated choices among uncertain monetary prospects, participants primed with outcome regret tended to decline feedback, learned the task slowly or not at all, and performed poorly. This pattern was reversed when decision makers were primed with self-blame regret (regret over an unjustified decision). Further, in a final experiment in which task learning was unnecessary, feedback was more often rejected in the self-blame regret condition than in the outcome regret condition. We discuss the findings in terms of a distinction between two regret components, one associated with outcome evaluation, the other with the justifiability of the decision process used in making the choice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-189
Number of pages8
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Volume109
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2009

Keywords

  • Decision making
  • Decision regret
  • Feedback avoidance
  • Learning
  • Myopic regret avoidance
  • Outcome regret
  • Regret aversion
  • Self-blame regret

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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