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Counterfactually mediated emotions: A developmental study of regret and relief in a probabilistic gambling task

Abstract : Regret and relief are related to counterfactual thinking and rely on comparison processes between what has been and what might have been. In this article, we study the development of regret and relief from late childhood to adulthood (11.2-20.2 years), and we examine how these two emotions affect individuals' willingness to retrospectively reconsider their choice in a computerized monetary gambling task. We asked participants to choose between two ''wheels of fortune'' that differed in the amount of gain and loss expected and the probability of winning. We manipulated the outcome of the wheel of fortune that was not selected by participants to induce regret or relief. For each trial, participants rated how they felt about the outcome and their willingness to modify their choice. Participants' ratings suggest that regret and relief are stronger in adults than in children and adolescents. Regret affects participants' willingness to modify their initial choice, but this desire is stronger for adults than for children. In children, the experience of regret seems to be dissociated from the willingness to reconsider a choice. This study provides the first evidence that the ability to experience counterfactually mediated emotions, such as regret and relief, and the ability to take them into consideration continue to develop during late childhood and adolescence.
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https://hal-normandie-univ.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02951506
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Submitted on : Tuesday, July 20, 2021 - 12:08:34 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, July 21, 2021 - 3:31:26 AM

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M. Habib, M. Cassotti, G. Borst, G Simon, A. Pineau, et al.. Counterfactually mediated emotions: A developmental study of regret and relief in a probabilistic gambling task. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, Elsevier, 2012, 112 (2), pp.265-274. ⟨10.1016/j.jecp.2012.01.007⟩. ⟨hal-02951506⟩

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