The Experience and Regulation of Regret Across the Adult Life Span

  • Daniel Västfjäll
  • Ellen Peters
  • Pär Bjälkebring


How do the experience, anticipation, and regulation of emotion influence decision making and how does it change with age? Regret is a decision-related emotion that arises when a chosen outcome is, or is believed to be, worse than a nonchosen alternative. The experience and anticipation of regret has been linked to important real-life decisions. However, previous research on regret has, to a large extent, relied on younger participants and to date little is known about how and if the experience and anticipation of regret changes over the adult lifespan. Moreover, very little research has thus far addressed the prevention and management of regret (regret regulation) in decision making and, especially, age differences in such regulation. This chapter reviews evidence suggesting that there are good reasons to expect that older and younger adults may differ in their experience, anticipation, and regulation of regret due to both motivational and cognitive changes with age.


Emotion Regulation Emotional Memory Experience Sampling Method Future Time Perspective Adult Life Span 


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Copyright information

© Springer New York 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Västfjäll
    • 1
  • Ellen Peters
  • Pär Bjälkebring
  1. 1.Decision ResearchEugeneUSA

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