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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Counterfactual thinking and age differences in judgments of regret and blame

Ayse Payir, Robert Guttentag
Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 2019 March 28, 183: 261-275
30928889
In the current study, we examined whether two different counterfactual thinking biases (i.e., action  bias and temporal order bias) influence children's and adults' judgments of regret and blame and whether the perspective that participants take (i.e., self vs. other) affects blame attributions. Little evidence was found for either bias in young children's judgments, and at older ages the temporal order bias had a stronger influence on judgments compared with the action bias. In addition, the results provide new evidence suggesting that there are developmental changes in the effects of self versus other perspectives on children's social judgments. The findings are discussed in the context of developmental change in counterfactual thinking.

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