Multiple reference points in investor regret

Chien Huang Lin, Wen Hsien Huang, Marcel Zeelenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Regret is the result of a comparison between "what is" and "what might have been". Although regret is a relevant emotion in the life of investors, research studying the regrets of real investors and how these are influenced by multiple reference points is lacking. We present a field survey that investigated the regrets of real stock investors in relation to multiple "what might have been's." We found that their regrets are most influenced by what their outcomes might have been had they not invested, by their expected outcomes and by the best-performing unchosen stocks. In addition, we also found that the feeling of regret was influenced by losses or gains relative to each reference point rather than by the size of the loss or gain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)781-792
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Economic Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Counterfactual thinking
  • Investment decisions
  • Multiple reference points
  • Regret


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