Generality and cultural variation in the experience of regret

Seger M. Breugelmans, Marcel Zeelenberg, Thomas Gilovich, Wen Hsien Huang, Yaniv Shani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Regret is the prototypical decision-related emotion. Most theory and research on regret comes from the United States and Europe, but recent research has suggested potential cross-cultural differences in regret. We examined generality and cultural variation in the experience of regret. A cross-cultural study compared experiences of regret with those of disappointment and guilt as reported by participants from the United States (n = 143), the Netherlands (n = 147), Israel (n = 148), and Taiwan (n = 115). We found strong evidence for generality of the distinct emotion components of regret, compared with those of disappointment and guilt. We also found cultural variation in the frequency and intensity of regret in intrapersonal situations (regrets about outcomes affecting the self) and interpersonal regrets (regrets about outcomes affecting others). Whereas in the U.S. sample, regret was experienced more intensely in intrapersonal than interpersonal situations, both emotions were experienced more intensely in interpersonal situations in the Taiwanese sample.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1037-1048
Number of pages12
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Culture
  • Disappointment
  • Guilt
  • Regret

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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