The Maximizing Scale and The Regret Scale


Author of Tool: 

Schwartz, B., Ward, A., Monterosso, J., Lyubomirsky, S., White, K., & Lehman, D. R.

Key references: 

Schwartz, B., Ward, A., Monterosso, J., Lyubomirsky, S., White, K., & Lehman, D. R. (2002). Maximizing versus satisficing: happiness is a matter of choice. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83, 1178- 1197.

Primary use / Purpose: 

The maximizing scale was designed to measure the tendency to satisfice or maximize. The regret scale was intended to measure the tendency to experience regret.


As the number of options available to a person increases so too does the burden of choice. For individuals identified as maximizers, added options pose problems as the individual must consider each and attempt to determine which would lead to the best outcome. When a selection is made, maximizers often feel doubt or a lingering regret.

The maximizing scale contains thirteen items, each rated on a seven point scale from completely disagree to completely agree. These items assess whether a person tends to try and maximize their outcomes or whether they are a satisficer who simply searches for an outcome that can be deemed “good enough” if not the best.

The regret scale consists of five items and makes use of the same seven point rating scale. It assesses how individuals feel after having made a decision and whether they experiencing lingering doubt about their choice or regret over what they have missed out on.



Microsoft Office document iconThe Maximizing Scale and the Regret Scale

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):


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