Regret and decision making: a developmental perspective

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External organisations

  • Queen's University, Belfast


Regret is a common emotion that has important links with decision-making in adults. Recent research suggests that the ability to experience regret emerges relatively late in development. By around 6 years, most children will experience regret but the likelihood of experiencing this emotion increases across childhood and into adolescence. The developmental emergence of regret seems to affect children’s decision-making: children who experience regret about a choice are more likely to make a better choice next time round and regret also seems to help children learn to delay gratification and behave more prosocially.


Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Directions in Psychological Science
Early online date14 Jul 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Jul 2020


  • regret, development, decision making