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Experiencing regret is a normal part of life. The choices we make don’t always work out perfectly, and hindsight often reveals our mistakes.

But by understanding how regret works, we can teach ourselves to make better decisions in the future. This exhibit will help you take a step back and reflect on the choices you’ve made, and read the reflections that others have shared. Discover patterns in these choices that may help you minimize regret.

Images from the Exhibit

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Further Readings: The Science behind the Exhibit

When people face a difficult decision, they tend to favor inaction because the costs of doing nothing are less obvious than the costs of taking action. This may be too shortsighted. In your own life, try to recognize the long-term consequences of choosing inaction. Considering both short- and long-term consequences may help you make better decisions about when to seize the moment and when to let it pass.

  • Gilovich, T., & Medvec, V. H. (1995). The experience of regret: what, when, and why. Psychological Review, 102(2), 379.
  • Gilovich, T., Wang, R. F., Regan, D., & Nishina, S. (2003). Regrets of action and inaction across cultures. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 34(1), 6171.
  • Gilbert, D. T., Morewedge, C. K., Risen, J. L., & Wilson, T. D. (2004). Looking forward to looking backward: The misprediction of regret. Psychological Science, 15(5), 346350.

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