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The Functional Basis of Counterfactual Thinking
Counterfactual thoughts (“might-have-been” reconstructions of past outcomes) may serve an affective function (feeling better) and a preparative function (future improvement). Three studies showed
Counterfactual thinking.
  • N. Roese
  • Psychology
    Psychological bulletin
  • 1997
The author reviews research in support of the assertions that (a) counterfactual thinking is activated automatically in response to negative affect, (b) the content ofcounterfactuals targets particularly likely causes of misfortune, (c) counter Factuals produce negative affective consequences through a contrast-effect mechanism and positive inferential consequencesthrough a causal-inference mechanism, and (d) the net effect of counterfactUAL thinking is beneficial.
The Functional Theory of Counterfactual Thinking
An updated account of the functional theory of counterfactual thinking is provided, suggesting that such thoughts are best explained in terms of their role in behavior regulation and performance improvement.
What We Regret Most... and Why
The findings show that people’s biggest regrets are a reflection of where in life they see their largest opportunities; that is, where they see tangible prospects for change, growth, and renewal.
What Might Have Been: The Social Psychology of Counterfactual Thinking
Contents: N.J. Roese, J.M. Olson, Counterfactual Thinking: A Critical Overview. E.P. Seelau, S.M. Seelau, G.L. Wells, P.D. Windschitl, Counterfactual Constraints. M. Kasimatis, G.L. Wells, Individual
Hindsight Bias
  • N. Roese, K. Vohs
  • Psychology
    Perspectives on psychological science : a journal…
  • 1 September 2012
New technologies for visualizing and understanding data sets may have the unintended consequence of heightening hindsight bias, but an intervention that encourages people to consider alternative causal explanations for a given outcome can reduce hindsight bias.