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Developing thoughts about what might have been

Riggs, Kevin J.; Beck, Sarah R.; Riggs, Kevin


Kevin J. Riggs

Sarah R. Beck


Recent research has changed how developmental psychologists understand counterfactual thinking or thoughts of what might have been. Evidence suggests that counterfactual thinking develops over an extended period into at least middle childhood, depends on domain-general processes including executive function and language, and dissociates from counterfactual emotions such as regret. In this article, we review the developmental evidence that forms a critical but often-overlooked complement to the cognitive, social, and neuroscience literatures. We also highlight topics for further research, including spontaneous counterfactual thinking and counterfactual thinking in clinical settings. © 2014 The Society for Research in Child Development.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2014-09
Journal Child development perspectives
Print ISSN 1750-8592
Electronic ISSN 1750-8606
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 3
Pages 175-179
APA6 Citation Beck, S. R., & Riggs, K. (2014). Developing thoughts about what might have been. Child development perspectives, 8(3), 175-179.
Keywords Counterfactual thinking, Cognitive development, Imagination, Regret
Publisher URL
Copyright Statement ©2016 University of Hull
Additional Information Authors' accepted manuscript of article: Beck, S. R. and Riggs, K. J. (2014), Developing Thoughts About What Might Have Been. Child Dev Perspect, 8: 175–179. doi:10.1111/cdep.12082


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