Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 181–190 | Cite as

Getting a second chance: the role of imagery in the influence of inaction regret on behavioral intent

  • Vanessa M. Patrick
  • Matthew Lancellotti
  • Henrik Hagtvedt
Original Empirical Research

Abstract

Prior research has demonstrated that consumers who take an opportunity and are satisfied (satisfied takers) are likely to avail of a future opportunity when it is presented again but those who forsake an opportunity and experience regret (regretful forsakers) are less likely to do so, exhibiting inaction inertia. In this research we demonstrate when and why regret for inaction may result in the intent to avail of a future opportunity and compare this intent with that of satisfied consumers. Specifically, we demonstrate in two studies that (1) when consumers forgo an opportunity and experience regret, they are motivated to avail of a similar opportunity when it is presented in the future, and (2) this intent by regretful forsakers may be more intense than that experienced by satisfied customers due to the elicitation of mental imagery regarding the anticipated consumption episode.

Keywords

Regret Satisfaction Affect Imagery Behavioral intent Emotions Decision making Consumption 

References

  1. Abendroth, L. J., & Diehl, K. (2006). Now or never: effects of limited purchase opportunities on patterns of regret over time. The Journal of Consumer Research, 33, 342–351 (December). doi:10.1086/508438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson, C. A. (1983). Imagination and expectation: the effect of imagining behavioral scripts on personal intentions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 45(2), 293–305. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.45.2.293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Arkes, H. R., Kung, Y., & Hutzel, L. (2002). Regret, valuation, and inaction inertia. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 87, 371–385 (March). doi:10.1006/obhd.2001.2978.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bagozzi, R. P., Gopinath, M., & Nyer, P. U. (1999). The role of emotions in marketing. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 27, 184–206 (Spring). doi:10.1177/0092070399272005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Carroll, J. (1978). The effect of imagining an event on expectations for the event: an interpretation in terms of the availability heuristic. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 14, 88–96. doi:10.1016/0022-1031(78)90062-8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Connolly, T., Ordóñatez, L. D., & Coughlan, R. (1997). Regret and responsibility in the evaluation of decision outcomes. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 70(1), 73–85. doi:10.1006/obhd.1997.2695.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Epstude, K., & Roese, N. J. (2007). Beyond rationality: Counterfactual thinking and behavior regulation. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 30, 457–458.Google Scholar
  8. Gilovich, T., & Medvec, V. H. (1995). The experience of regret—What, when, and why. Psychological Review, 102, 379–395. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.102.2.379.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gleicher, F., Boninger, D., Strathman, A., Armor, D., Hetts, J., & Ahn, M. (1995). With an eye toward the future: The impact of counterfactual thinking on affect, attitudes, and behavior. In N. J. Roese, & J. M. Olson (Eds.), What might have been: The social psychology of counterfactual thinking (pp. 283–304). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  10. Gregory, W. L., Cialdini, R. B., & Carpenter, K. M. (1982). Self-relevant scenarios as mediators of likelihood estimates and compliance: does imagining make it so? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 43(1), 89–99. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.43.1.89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hilgard, E. R. (1981). Imagery and imagination in American psychology. Journal of Mental Imagery, 5, 5–19.Google Scholar
  12. Hur, T. (2001). The role of regulatory focus in activation of counterfactual thinking. Korean Journal of Social and Personality Psychology, 15, 159–171.Google Scholar
  13. Johnson, M. K., & Sherman, S. J. (1990). Constructing and reconstructing the past and the future in the present. In E. T. Higgins, & R. M. Sorrentino (Eds.), Handbook of motivation and cognition: Foundations of social behavior, vol 2 (pp. 482–526). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  14. Johnson, A. R., & Stewart, D. W. (2004). A reappraisal of the role of emotion in consumer behavior: Traditional and contemporary approaches. In N. K. Malhotra (Ed.), Review of marketing research. Armonk, New York: M.E. Sharpe.Google Scholar
  15. Krishnamurthy, P., & Sivaraman, A. (2002). Counterfactual thinking and advertising responses. The Journal of Consumer Research, 28, 650–658. doi:10.1086/323736.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kumar, P. (2004). The effects of social comparison on inaction inertia. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 95(2), 175–185. doi:10.1016/j.obhdp.2004.06.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lam, S. Y., Shankar, V., Erramilli, M. K., & Murthy, B. (2004). Customer value, satisfaction, loyalty, and switching costs: an illustration from a business-to-business service context. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 32, 293–311 (summer). doi:10.1177/0092070304263330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Newby-Clark, I. R., & Ross, M. (2003). Conceiving the past and future. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29, 807–818. doi:10.1177/0146167203029007001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Oettingen, G., & Mayer, D. (2002). The motivating function of thinking about the future: expectations versus fantasies. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83, 1198–1212 (November). doi:10.1037/0022-3514.83.5.1198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Oliver, R. (1996). Satisfaction: A behavioral perspective on the consumer. New York: Mc-Graw Hill.Google Scholar
  21. Olsen, S. O. (2002). Comparative evaluation and the relationship between quality, satisfaction, and repurchase loyalty. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 30, 240–249 (summer).Google Scholar
  22. Page, C. M., & Colby, P. M. (2003). If only I hadn’t smoked: the impact of counterfactual thinking on a smoking-related behavior. Psychology and Marketing, 20, 955–976. doi:10.1002/mar.10104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Pieters, R., & Zeelenberg, M. (2005). On bad decisions and deciding badly: when intention–behavior inconsistency is regrettable. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 97(1), 18–30. doi:10.1016/j.obhdp.2005.01.003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Roese, N. J. (1997). Counterfactual thinking. Psychological Bulletin, 121, 133–148. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.121.1.133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Roese, N. J. (2000). Counterfactual thinking and marketing: introduction to the special issue. Psychology & Marketing Special Issue: Counterfactual Thinking, 17, 277–280.Google Scholar
  26. Roese, N. J., & Olson, J. M. (1997). Counterfactual thinking: The intersection of affect and function. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology, vol. 29 (pp. 1–59). San Diego, CA: Academic.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Sanna, L. J., & Turley, K. J. (1996). Antecedents to spontaneous counterfactual thinking: effects of expectancy violation and outcome valence. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 22, 906–919. doi:10.1177/0146167296229005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Schindler, R. M. (1998). Consequences of perceiving oneself as responsible for obtaining a discount: evidence for smart-shopper feelings. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 7, 371–392. doi:10.1207/s15327663jcp0704_04.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Shiv, B., & Fedorikhin, A. (1999). Heart and mind in conflict: the interplay of affect and cognition in consumer decision making. The Journal of Consumer Research, 26, 278–292. doi:10.1086/209563.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Shiv, B., & Huber, J. (2000). The impact of anticipating satisfaction on consumer choice. The Journal of Consumer Research, 27, 202–216. doi:10.1086/314320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Smallman, R., & Roese, N. J. (2008). Counterfactual thinking facilitates the formation of intentions: Evidence for a content-specific pathway in behavioral regulation. Working paper.Google Scholar
  32. Szymanski, D. M., & Henard, D. H. (2001). Customer satisfaction: a meta-analysis of the empirical evidence. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 29, 16–35 (winter).Google Scholar
  33. Tsiros, M., & Mittal, V. (2000). Regret: a model of its antecedents and consequences in consumer decision making. The Journal of Consumer Research, 26, 401–417. doi:10.1086/209571.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Tykocinski, O. E., & Pittman, T. S. (1998). The consequences of doing nothing: inaction inertia as avoidance of anticipated counterfactual regret. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 607–616 (September). doi:10.1037/0022-3514.75.3.607.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Tykocinski, O. E., Pittman, T. S., & Tuttle, E. E. (1995). Inaction inertia: foregoing future benefits as a result of an initial failure to act. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68, 793–803 (May). doi:10.1037/0022-3514.68.5.793.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Van Boven, L., & Ashworth, L. (2007). Looking forward, looking back: anticipation is more evocative than retrospection. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 136, 289–300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Van Dijk, E., & Zeelenberg, M. (2005). On the psychology of ‘If only’: regret and the comparison between factual and counterfactual outcomes. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 97, 152–160 (July). doi:10.1016/j.obhdp.2005.04.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Zeelenberg, M., Nijstad, B. A., van Putten, M., & van Dijk, E. (2006). Inaction inertia, regret, and valuation: a closer look. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 101, 89–104 (September). doi:10.1016/j.obhdp.2005.11.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Zeelenberg, M., van Dijk, W. W., van Der Pligt, J., Manstead, A. S. R., Empelen, P. V., & Dimitri Reinderman, P. V. (1998). Emotional reactions to the outcomes of decisions: the role of counterfactual thought in the experience of regret and disappointment. Organizational Behavior & Human Decision Processes, 74, 254–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Academy of Marketing Science 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vanessa M. Patrick
    • 1
  • Matthew Lancellotti
    • 2
  • Henrik Hagtvedt
    • 1
  1. 1.Terry College of BusinessUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  2. 2.California State University FullertonFullertonUSA

Personalised recommendations