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Title: The development of regret and its role in decision making
Author: O'Connor, Eimear
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2013
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Five experiments were performed to assess the emergence of regret in childhood and whether regret improves subsequent decision making. On Day 1 children chose between two boxes to ~in n a prize in both a regret and baseline trial. The unchosen box in the regret trial contained a better prize than chosen box while the boxes in the baseline trial contained the same prize, Children were asked to rate their feelings about their prize before and after they saw unchosen prize, Children who reported feeling sadder after seeing the unchosen prize in the regret trial but not in the baseline trial were categorised as experiencing regret. On Day 2, children were presented with the exact same decision making task. Adaptive decision making on Day 2 was defined as changing box choice in the regret trial only. Experiments 1•3 assessed the emergence of regret in 4•10 9-year.olds. The findings from these experiments found the experience of regret emerges from 6 years of age. Experiments 4•5 included 6•and 7•year-old children only. Results from binary logistic regressions found that verbal ability, but • not age, was a significant predictor of regret. Few children in Experiments 1-2 engaged in adaptive decision making and it was suggested that the task did not accurately measure adaptive decision making. Introducing a cost for swapping boxes on Day 2 gave a more accurate measure of adaptive decision making. In Experiment3the majority of 7- and 9-year-olds who experienced regret engaged in adaptive decision making. Findings from Experiments 4•5 suggest that regret was a significant predictor of adaptive decision making, while age and verbal l ability were not. These findings suggest that the experience of regret emerges from around 6 years of age. Further, they suggest a strong association between the experience of regret and subsequent decision making in childhood.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available