The Effect of Anticipating Regret and Satisfaction on Consumer Preference for Default Options


  • Eunice Kim Towson University, USA


In this research, we juxtapose anticipation of regret with anticipation of satisfaction and examine the decision-making process when choosing between a default vs. alternate, non-default option. We propose that anticipating satisfaction pushes consumer preferences towards default options, while anticipating regret shifts consumer preference to the alternative, non-default option. This preference shift occurs as anticipating satisfaction tends to focus individuals on the positives of the chosen option, and anticipating regret tends to focus individuals on the negatives of the default option and the positives of the alternate option, which they would miss out on if they choose the default option. Therefore, anticipating regret, compared to anticipating satisfaction, leads to a shift in preference away from the default option toward the alternate option. Results from three studies provide robust support to our predictions. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.


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