Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Facing the consequence of a decision we made can trigger emotions like satisfaction, relief, or regret, which reflect our assessment of what was gained as compared to what would have been gained by making a different decision. These emotions are mediated by a cognitive process known as counterfactual thinking. By manipulating a simple gambling task, we characterized a subject's choices in terms of their anticipated and actual emotional impact. Normal subjects reported emotional responses consistent with counterfactual thinking; they chose to minimize future regret and learned from their emotional experience. Patients with orbitofrontal cortical lesions, however, did not report regret or anticipate negative consequences of their choices. The orbitofrontal cortex has a fundamental role in mediating the experience of regret.

Original publication

DOI

10.1126/science.1094550

Type

Journal article

Journal

Science

Publication Date

21/05/2004

Volume

304

Pages

1167 - 1170

Keywords

Adult, Brain Diseases, Choice Behavior, Decision Making, Emotions, Feedback, Psychological, Female, Frontal Lobe, Galvanic Skin Response, Gambling, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Models, Psychological, Thinking