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Commission, Omission and Dissonance Reduction: Coping with Regret in the , Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin

Abstract

Do people reduce dissonance more for their errors of commission than their errors of omission? More specifically, do people come to value a disappointing outcome obtained through a direct action more than an identical outcome obtained through a failure to act? To answer this question, the authors created a laboratory analogue of the "three doors" or "Monty Hall" problem. Subjects initially selected one box from a group of three, only one of which contained a "grand" prize. After the experimenter opened one of the two unchosen boxes and revealed a modest prize, subjects were asked to decide whether to stay with their initial selection or trade it in for the other unopened box. Regardless of the subject's choice, a modest prize was received. Results indicated that subjects who switched boxes assigned a higher monetary value to the modest prize they received than those who stayed with their initial choice. Implications for the psychology of regret are discussed.

Type

Article

Author(s)

Thomas D. Gilovich, Victoria Medvec, Serena Chen

Date Published

1995

Citations

Gilovich, D. Thomas, Victoria Medvec, and Serena Chen. 1995. Commission, Omission and Dissonance Reduction: Coping with Regret in the . Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 21(2): 182-190.

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