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People rue virtue more than vice

india Updated: Jul 01, 2006 17:09 IST
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While most people try not to give in to temptation, and believe that by not succumbing to it they have taken the right decision, a new study has shown that chances are that missing out on pleasures of life will not only lead to regrets about having missed out some fun, but that unlike guilt about indulgence, these regrets will only intensify over time.

The study was conducted by Columbia University researchers Ran Kivetz and Anat Keinan, who say that yielding to temptation at times can help to lower a person’s regrets in his/her mid-life.

"While yielding to temptation can certainly be harmful, this article argues that overcontrol and excessive farsightedness ('hyperopia') can also have negative long-term consequences," they said.

They also found that though in the short run, vice is regretted more than virtue the feeling is vice-versa as people grow older.

"In the short run, vice is regretted more than virtue, but in the long run virtue is regretted more. Consumers sometimes suffer from excessive farsightedness and future-biased preferences, consistently delaying pleasure and overweighing necessity and virtue in local decisions," they said.

The new study appears in the September issue of the Journal of Consumer Research.

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