Dr. Amy Summerville

Teaching Interests:

Like my own research, my teaching focuses largely on the field of Social Cognition, how basic properties of attention and memory shape our responses to the social world.  My teaching philosophy centers on the belief that we learn by doing; specifically, I strongly believe in building ongoing writing practice into my courses, as well as building the habits of reading and critical thinking that scholars in the field develop over time.   I encourage students to connect course material to real-life applications both in this writing and in our class discussions, and direct an internship partnership with Procter and Gamble that enables both undergraduate and graduate students to gain experience applying psychological expertise to applied research contexts.

Research Interests:

My research is focused on understanding when and why people think about “what might have been,” and the effects of these thoughts in applied, everyday contexts. I’m particularly interested in the experience of regret, the negative emotion stemming from the realization that one’s actions could have resulted in better outcomes than actually occurred.   I have done work examining what regrets individuals report both in real life and in lab contexts. This work has informed theoretical work focused on the functional nature of regret, and the role of opportunity in the strength of regret.   My research also focuses on the decision to seek vs. avoid information about foregone options, and how this decision may be a strategic response to regret.

Representative Publications:

Summerville, A. (2011).  The rush of regret: A longitudinal analysis of naturalistic regrets.  Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2, 627-634.

Summerville, A. (2011).  Counterfactual-seeking: The scenic overlook of the road not taken.  Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 37, 1522-1533.

Summerville, A., & Roese, N. J. (2008). Dare to Compare: Fact based versus simulation based comparison in daily life. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44, 664-671.

Summerville, A., & Roese, N. J. (2008). Self-report measures of individual differences in regulatory focus: A cautionary note. Journal of Research in Personality, 42, 247-254.

Roese, N. J., Summerville, A., & Fessel, F. (2007). Regret and behavior: Comment on Zeelenberg and Pieters. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 17, 25-28.

Roese, N. J., & Summerville, A. (2005). What we regret most … and why. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 31, 1273-1285.

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