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Title:Upward and onward: direction of counterfactuals, future action, and well-being over time
Author(s):Morrison, Michael
Director of Research:Roese, Neal J.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Preston, Jesse L.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Roese, Neal J.; Roberts, Brent W.; Diener, Edward F.; Berenbaum, Howard
Department / Program:Psychology
Discipline:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):counterfactual thinking
regret
affect
behavior regulation
adaptive behavior
repetitive thought
subjective well-being
decision-making
time course
Abstract:Functional accounts of counterfactual thinking (Epstude & Roese, 2008) argue that upward counterfactuals make us feel bad in the short-term but maximize outcomes in the long term. The short-term relationship is well-established, but the relationship of counterfactual thinking to behavior, affect and well-being over the long term has yet to be tested. Three experimental studies spanning different lengths of time uncovered that individuals who provided an upward counterfactual were more likely to subsequently take action to improve themselves and feel better over time about what they described, compared to those who provided downward counterfactual or factual event descriptions. Repetitive thought appears to play a role in these patterns. The findings provide new insights into the long-term adaptive value of counterfactual thinking.
Issue Date:2012-09-18
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/34494
Rights Information:Copyright 2012 Michael R.S. Morrison
Date Available in IDEALS:2012-09-18
2014-09-18
Date Deposited:2012-08


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