Do hedonic motives moderate regulatory focus motives? Evidence from the framing of persuasive messages

Prashant Malaviya*, C. Miguel Brendl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Research on regulatory focus has established a regulatory matching effect: The persuasiveness of a message is enhanced when regulatory orientations of message and perceiver match (i.e., both are promotion or both are prevention). We report evidence that varying the hedonic outcome reverses this effect. We manipulated hedonic outcome by explicitly stating pleasurable versus painful outcomes as part of the message frame as well as by priming perceivers to focus on either pleasurable or painful outcomes. When both message and perceiver were focused on pleasurable outcomes, we replicated the regulatory matching effect. However, the matching effect reversed when the hedonic outcome of the message was opposed to that of the perceiver (i.e., one was pleasurable and the other painful). Under these conditions, messages that mismatched the perceivers' regulatory orientation were more persuasive (i.e., promotion message for a prevention oriented perceiver or vice versa). We also examined the persuasion effects when both message and perceiver were focused on painful outcomes and found that the regulatory matching effect re-emerged. The reversal of the regulatory matching effect by hedonic outcome strongly suggests that hedonic motives (approach of pleasure vs. avoidance of pain) and regulatory focus motives are distinct constructs. This is important because contrary to theoretical statements these constructs have often been confounded.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Volume106
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2014

Keywords

  • Attitudes
  • Gain
  • Loss
  • Motivation
  • Valence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Do hedonic motives moderate regulatory focus motives? Evidence from the framing of persuasive messages'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this