Regret aversion and the reluctance to exchange lottery tickets
The current research finds that people are willing to forego a direct material gain, if that protects them from future regrets. In two experiments participants endowed with a lottery ticket were offered to exchange their ticket for another ticket from the same lottery. Even though they could receive a bonus for exchanging, many participants chose not to do so. Experiment 1 finds that a manipulation that prevented the anticipation of regret by offering the ticket in a sealed envelope made more participants exchange their ticket. Experiment 2 finds that an increased potential of regret over not-exchanging made more participants exchange as well. In both experiments the effect of the manipulation on choices is mediated by anticipated regret. The experiments show that people are willing to forego a material gain to prevent future regrets and that the reluctance to exchange lottery tickets is (partly) caused by regret aversion.
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