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Darren Dahl (Editor in Chief)Eileen FischerGita JoharVicki Morwitz

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Now or Never: Effects of Limited Purchase Opportunities on Patterns of Regret over Time

Lisa J. Abendroth, Kristin Diehl
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/508438 342-351 First published online: 1 December 2006


Prior research has demonstrated that actions are regretted more than inactions in the short term. We show that, in limited purchase opportunities—situations where the purchase decision cannot be reversed—not purchasing (inaction) is seen as a loss and is associated with greater short-term regret than purchasing, reversing the omission bias. With respect to long-term regret, we use coping and availability mechanisms to suggest that, contrary to prior findings, inaction (nonpurchase) regrets decrease over time. We also argue that action (purchase) regrets should increase over time, but only when long-term utility is low. We support our predictions with a field study and two laboratory experiments.

  • Affect/Emotions/Mood
  • Satisfaction
  • Situation/Context Issues
  • Time
  • Experimental Design and Analysis (ANOVA)
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