Promotion and prevention focus on alternative hypotheses: Implications for attributional functions

Nira Liberman*, Daniel C Molden, Lorraine Chen Idson, E. Tory Higgins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

192 Scopus citations

Abstract

Five studies examined hypothesis generation and discounting in causal attribution from the perspective of regulatory focus theory (E. T. Higgins, 1997, 1998). According to this theory, a promotion focus is associated with generating more and simultaneously endorsing multiple hypotheses, whereas a prevention focus is associated with generating only a few hypotheses and selecting 1 hypothesis from a given set. Five studies confirmed these predictions for both situationally induced and chronic individual differences in regulatory focus. In Studies 1, 2, and 3, individuals in a promotion focus generated more hypotheses than individuals in a prevention focus. In Studies 4 and 5, individuals in a promotion focus discounted explanations in light of alternatives less than individuals in a prevention focus. Study 5 also found that in a promotion focus, person explanations were generalized across situations less than in a prevention focus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-18
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Volume80
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Promotion and prevention focus on alternative hypotheses: Implications for attributional functions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this