I never had a chance: Using hindsight tactics to mitigate disappointments

Orit E. Tykocinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations

Abstract

People seem to have a rather rich repertoire of tactics for regulating moods and dealing with unpleasant events. The current work examines one such tactic. It suggests that to render a disappointing reality more palatable, people sometimes change the perceived probabilities of relevant events post facto so that the disappointing reality appears almost inevitable and the more positive alternatives now seem highly unlikely. This "retroactive pessimism" effect was demonstrated in two studies. In the first, participants were asked to imagine themselves in a situation in which they experienced a disappointing outcome and then assess the likelihood that a more favorable alternative could have occurred. In the second, participants were asked to evaluate each candidate's chances of winning in the recent prime minister race in Israel before and after the elections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)376-382
Number of pages7
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume27
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2001

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