Amy Summerville

Amy Summerville

Associate Professor

312 Psychology Building
Miami University
Oxford, OH 45056
Curriculum Vitae

Amy Summerville has been a member of the Miami faculty since 2008. Her research is focused on understanding when and why people think about “what might have been,” and the effects of these thoughts in applied, everyday contexts. This work has earned both scientific recognition and attention in the popular media, including the New York Times Magazine and NPR's Hidden Brain. She serves on the editorial boards of leading journals in social psychology and is a program co-chair for the 2018 and 2019 Annual Conventions of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.

Her teaching focuses on helping students build strong skills of writing and critical thinking, and she has served on the internal advisory board for the Howe Center for Writing Excellence and on writing curriculum subcommittees for the College of Arts and Sciences and the University Liberal Education Council. Her courses also focus on the strong career preparation afforded by the Psychology major, guiding students from building foundational career exploration skills to acting as expert consultants to real business partners for global corporations. She was recognized with the inaugural Miami University Excellence in Student Career Development award.


  • Ph.D. in Social Psychology with minor in Quantitative Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (May 2008)
  • M.A., University of Illinois, Department of Psychology (May 2005) 
  • B.A., Amherst College, Magna Cum Laude, with Distinction in Psychology (May 2002)

Teaching Interests

Dr. Summerville's teaching philosophy centers on the belief that we learn by doing; specifically, she strongly believe in building ongoing writing practice into courses, as well as building the habits of reading and critical thinking that scholars in the field develop over time. She encourages students to connect course material to real-life applications in this writing, in class discussions, and in application projects with external partners. She developed and teaches our "foundational experiences" course to help provide all students in the department experiential exposure to the research process in psychology and to the career opportunities training in psychology affords.

Research Interests

Dr. Summerville's research is focused on understanding when and why people think about “what might have been,” and the effects of these thoughts in applied, everyday contexts. Much of her work focuses on the experience of regret, the negative emotion stemming from the realization that one’s actions could have resulted in better outcomes than actually occurred, and on the functional nature of regret and counterfactual thoughts, including how they may impact student performance in STEM courses. Her research also focuses on how social relationships intersect with regret and counterfactual thinking.

View more information about Dr. Summerville's Regret Research Lab.

Professional Recognition

  • Midwestern Psychological Association Fellow (2017)
  • Society of Experimental Social Psychology Fellow (2016)
  • Miami University Excellence in Student Career Development (2014)
  • Top 100 Faculty, Miami University (2013)

Representative Publications

  • Roese, N. J., & Summerville, A. (2005). What we regret most … and why. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 31, 1273-1285
  • Summerville, A. (2011). The rush of regret: A longitudinal analysis of naturalistic regrets. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2, 627-634.
  • Summerville, A. (2011). Counterfactual-seeking: The scenic overlook of the road not taken. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 37, 1522-1533.
  • Rim, S. & Summerville, A. (2014). How far to the road not taken?: The effect of psychological distance on counterfactual direction. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40, 391-401. DOI: 10.1177/0146167213513304
  • Summerville, A., & Buchanan, J. (2014). Functions of Personal Experience and of Expression of Regret. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40, 463-475. DOI: 10.1177/0146167213515026
  • Buchanan, J., Summerville, A., Lehmann, J., & Reb, J. (2016). The Regret Elements Scale: Distinguishing the affective and cognitive components of regret. Judgment and Decision Making, 11, 275-286.
  • Walker, R. J., Smallman, R., Summerville, A., & Deska, J. C. (2016). Motivated by Us but Not by Them: Group Membership Influences the Impact of Counterfactual Thinking on Behavioral Intentions. Social Cognition, 34, 286-305. DOI: 10.1521/soco.2016.34.4.3
  • Smallman, R., & Summerville, A. (2018). Counterfactual thought in reasoning and performance. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 12 (4), e12376. DOI: 10.1111/spc3.12376

Open access publications available via Miami's Scholarly Commons


National Science Foundation, “Preliminary investigation of a social cognitive intervention in early courses” (NSF-EEC-1530627), 2015-2019. ($367,563)

Courses Taught

PSY 112 | Foundational Experiences in Psychology
PSY 327 | Social Cognition
PSY 410 | Capstone in social psychology:Applied psychology
PSY 602 |Graduate Statistics and Methods II

Research Lab Information

If you are a current Miami undergraduate student or potential graduate student interested in working with us, please read more about our lab, or contact us at

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