When people fear that their decision will turn out to be wrong in hindsight, they exhibit regret aversion. Regret-averse people may fear the consequences of both errors of omission (e.g. not buying the right investment property) and commission (e.g. buying the wrong investment property) (Seiler et al., 2008). The effect of anticipated regret is particularly well-studied in the domain of health, such as people’s decisions about medical treatments. A meta-analysis in this area suggests that anticipated regret is a better predictor of intentions and behavior than other kinds of anticipated negative emotions and evaluations of risk (Brewer et al., 2016). (See also loss aversion, status quo bias, sunk cost fallacyinformation avoidance, and action bias)

 

Brewer, N. T., DeFrank, J. T., & Gilkey, M. B. (2016). Anticipated regret and health behavior: A meta-analysis. Health Psychology, 35(11), 1264-1275.

Seiler, M., Seiler, V., Traub, S., & Harrison, D. (2008). Regret aversion and false reference points in residential real estate. Journal of Real Estate Research, 30(4), 461-474.