Abstract

It is suggested that consumers' choices between alternatives can be systematically influenced by asking them to anticipate the regret and responsibility they would feel if they made the wrong decision. Specifically, on the basis of the notion that choices of conventional or default options are associated with lower regret and responsibility, it is proposed that consumers who anticipate how they would feel if they made the wrong decision would be more likely to purchase a currently available item on sale rather than wait for a better sale and more likely to prefer a higher-priced, well-known brand over a less expensive, lesser-known brand. These propositions were supported in three studies. The findings also suggest that an error caused by selection of a lesser-known, lower-priced brand is associated with greater responsibility but less regret than an error caused by a choice of a well-known, higher-priced brand.

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