Regulatory focus as a predictor of omission bias in moral judgment: Mediating role of anticipated regrets

Eun Kyoung Chung, Soo Jung Kim, Young Woo Sohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Omission bias occurs when people are more reluctant to accept negative consequences caused by their actions than by their inaction. Recent research on omission bias in decision-making has found evidence for individual differences, thus indicating that some people are more likely to show omission inclination than others. The present research aims to explore the role of regulatory focus as individual difference variables in omission bias. Moreover, we examine whether anticipated regret mediates the relationship between regulatory focus and moral judgement. Moral judgement tasks utilized include: (i) moral dilemma scenarios (Study 1); and (ii) ethical scenarios embracing apparent legal rule violations (Study 2). The results of both studies show that only prevention focus is significantly related to omission bias in moral judgement. Specifically, this relationship holds regardless of the nature of the 'omission' (whether they are deontological or utilitarian). In addition, anticipated regret/guilt for action was found to mediate the relationship between prevention focus and omission bias. Implications and limitations are discussed based on the results of the current study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)302-311
Number of pages10
JournalAsian Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Dec 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd with the Asian Association of Social Psychology and the Japanese Group Dynamics Association.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Social Sciences(all)


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