Counterfactual thoughts (CFTs) are imagined alternatives to an actual event, and are pervasive in our daily lives. It is not unusual for one to think of what might have been if only a few subtle details of the past had been different. CFTs often arise from disconfirmation of expectations. Such thoughts have been proposed to influence satisfaction, disappointment and continuance intentions in the fields of marketing and psychology. However, the traditional expectation-disconfirmation theory (EDT), often employed to study satisfaction and continuance intentions has failed to recognize the role of CFTs. Accordingly, this study presents a conceptual model and empirically examines the moderating role of CFTs in the relationship between expectation disconfirmation and satisfaction, and the effect of CFTs on disappointment and IS continuance intentions. Results strongly support the hypothesized role of CFTs. This study contributes to a better conceptualization of the post-implementation user cognition and EDT, which has been traditionally used to examine user satisfaction and continuance intentions.
Mellarkod, Vidhya; Appan, Radha; and Browne, Glenn J., "Counterfactual Thoughts: A Theoretical Explanation of the Cognitive Mechanism Underlying the Formation of User Satisfaction and IS Continuance Intention" (2005). AMCIS 2005 Proceedings. 219.