Cathy Seta
Professor of Psychology
(336) 758-4876
Greene Hall 221

Research Interests:

Social Psychology and Social Judgment:

An area of research in which I am currently interested concerns the functions of feelings of regret in maintaining or changing self-regulatory goals.  We have developed a consistency-fit model that proposes that the consistency of a decision in relation to a person’s goals, moods, and/or personality orientation determines that amount of regret felt following a subjectively “poor” decision.  We are working from a model that assumes regret can serve a positive function in providing feedback about how our decisions correspond to our goals and aspirations.

Our research on regret also extends into the area of judgment and decision-making. For example, a recent series of studies investigated how knowledge about relatively better alternative realities influence regret and decision-evaluations of decisions that produced objectively positive outcomes. In addition, we recently published a new model of framing that unifies types of framing within a common analysis.

I am also interested in ways in which stereotypes are generated and how they are maintained in the face of dis-confirming (i.e., inconsistent) information.  For example, we have investigated how expectations are generated from social stereotypes and how these expectations affect predictions about the future behavior of group members. I am also interested in social comparison processes and intergroup behavior, as well as the role of system justification in creating and maintaining stereotypes.

Selected Publications

Valshtein, T. & Seta, C. (in press).  Motivational Science. Behavior-Goal Consistency and the Role of Anticipated and Retrospective Regret in Self-Regulation.

Seta, JJ., Seta, C.E. & McCormick, M.  (in press). Commonalities Among Frames: A Unification Model. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making.

Seta, C.E., Seta, J.J., Petrocelli, J.V, & McCormick, M. (2015). Even better than the real thing: Alternative outcome bias affects decision judgments and decision regret. Thinking and Reasoning. 21, 446-472.

Seta, C. E., & Seta, J. J. (2013). Regret in pursuit of change and maintenance goals. Motivation and Emotion, 37(1), 177-184.

Seta, C. E., Garren Jr, W. C., & Seta, J. J. (2011). Judging the severity of sexually harassing events. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 33(1), 81-87.

Seta, J. J., & Seta, C. E. (1996). Big fish in small ponds: A social hierarchy analysis of intergroup bias. Journal of personality and social psychology, 71(6), 1210.

Hughes, F. M., & Seta, C. E. (2003). Gender stereotypes: Children’s perceptions of future compensatory behavior following violations of gender roles. Sex Roles, 49(11-12), 685-691.