People who anticipate the potential regret of one's decisions are believed to act in a more risk-averse manner and, thus, display fewer risk-taking behaviors across many domains. We conducted two studies to investigate whether individual differences in regret-based decision-making (a) reflect a unitary cognitive-style dimension, (b) are stable over time, and (c) predict later risk-taking behavior. In Study 1, 332 participants completed a regret-based decision-making style scale (RDS) to evaluate its psychometric qualities. In Study 2, participants ( N = 119) were tested on two separate occasions to assess the association between RDS and risk-taking. At Time 1, participants completed the RDS, as well as trait measures of anxiety and depression. One month later, they completed the Balloon Analogue Risk Task (BART) and state mood (Positive/Negative affect) scales. The RDS had a sound unidimensional factorial structure and was stable over time. Further, higher reported RDS scores were significantly associated with less risk-taking on the BART, holding other variables constant. These studies suggest that individual differences in regret-based decision-making may lead to a more cautious approach to real-world risk behaviors.
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