Guilt: The Old Hotness
Kivetz also interviewed 69 students from Columbia University who had returned one week previously from winter break and found that as a group they were split in roughly equal numbers between regret and contentment for having worked or partied. But when Kivetz talked to alumni who graduated 40 years earlier, the picture was much more lopsided: those who hadn’t partied were bitter with regret, while those who had were now thrilled with their choice. “In the long run,” Kivetz says, “we inevitably regret being virtuous and wish we’d been bigger hedonists.”Party on?
This behavior, Kivetz theorizes, is due to the nature of guilt. This emotion is “hot” — it burns brightly but briefly. “Guilt is quick to rise,” he notes, “and quick to fall.”