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Joining a group diverts regret and responsibility away from the individual

El Zein, M; Bahrami, B; (2020) Joining a group diverts regret and responsibility away from the individual. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences , 287 (1922) , Article 20192251. 10.1098/rspb.2019.2251. Green open access

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Abstract

It has recently been proposed that a key motivation for joining groups is the protection from the negative consequences of undesirable outcomes. To test this claim, we investigated how experienced outcomes triggering loss and regret impacted people's tendency to decide alone or join a group, and how decisions differed when voluntarily made alone versus in group. Replicated across two experiments, participants (n = 125 and n = 496) selected whether to play alone or contribute their vote to a group decision. Next, they chose between two lotteries with different probabilities of winning and losing. The higher the negative outcome, the more participants switched from deciding alone to with others. When joining a group to choose the lottery, choices were less driven by outcome and regret anticipation. Moreover, negative outcomes experienced alone, not part of a group vote, led to worse subsequent choices than positive outcomes. These results suggest that the protective shield of the collective reduces the influence of negative emotions that may help individuals re-evaluate past choices.

Type: Article
Title: Joining a group diverts regret and responsibility away from the individual
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2019.2251
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2019.2251
Language: English
Additional information: © 2020 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 9http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: joining groups, loss, negative outcomes, regret, responsibility
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10094211
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