The Role of Anticipated Regret in Advice Taking
Journal of Behavioral Decision Making , Volume 31 - Issue 1 p. 74- 86
Across five studies, we demonstrate that anticipated future regret influences receptiveness to advice. While making a revision to one's own judgment based on advice, people can anticipate two kinds of future regret: (a) the regret of following non‐beneficial advice and (b) the regret of ignoring beneficial advice. In studies 1a (scenario task) and 1b (judgment task), we find that anticipated regret from erring after following advice is greater than anticipated regret from erring after ignoring advice. Furthermore, receptiveness decreases as the difference between anticipated regret from following and from ignoring advice increases. In study 2, we demonstrate that perceived justifiability of one's own initial decision is greater than that of advice. This difference in perceived justifiability influences anticipated regret and that, in turn, influences receptiveness. In study 3, we investigate the effect of advisor's expertise on perceived justifiability, anticipated regret, and receptiveness. In study 4, we propose and test an intervention to improve receptiveness based on self‐generation of advice justifications. Participants who were asked to self‐generate justifications for the advice were more receptive to it. This effect was mediated by perceived justifiability and anticipated regret. These findings shed further light on what prevents people from being receptive to advice and how this can be improved. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.