Andrew Towers

Doctor of Philosophy, (Psychology)
Study Completed: 2010
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Consolidating mistakes of the heart and mind: Toward a dual process theory of regret

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Despite years of research there is still considerable debate over what causes regret. Mr Towers proposed that current psychological theories failed because they view regret as the result of conscious decision processes and entirely ignore the use of common unconscious decision strategies such as gut reactions. He developed a Dual Process Theory of Regret which highlights the role both conscious and unconscious cognitive processes play in the development of regret. Andy conducted a postal survey of over 600 New Zealanders, asking them to describe their most intense life regret and the factors that led to this regret. Analysis of these regrets showed that his new model explained patterns of regret much more clearly than previous theories. These results will help shape future theories of human emotions by emphasising the need to consider the cognitive processes from which these emotions arise.

Associate Professor Ross Flett
Dr Stephen Hill

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