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Exploring the Cognitive Mechanism that Underlies Regulatory Focus Effects


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  • Rui (Juliet) Zhu
  • Joan Meyers-Levy
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    Much research has explained regulatory focus effects via the alternative psychological states (eagerness vs. vigilance) people experience when they adopt different regulatory foci. This article identifies for the first time the cognitive mechanism that underlies regulatory focus effects. We propose that promotion-focus individuals engage in relational elaboration, which entails identifying commonalities or abstract relationships among disparate items. In contrast, prevention-focus individuals engage in item-specific elaboration, which involves focusing on specific attributes of each item independent of others. Results support our theorizing by demonstrating that promotion-focus (prevention-focus) individuals exhibit enhanced performance on tasks that require relational (item-specific) elaboration. (c) 2007 by JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH, Inc..

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Consumer Research.

    Volume (Year): 34 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 1 (04)
    Pages: 89-96

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    Handle: RePEc:ucp:jconrs:v:34:y:2007:i:1:p:89-96

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    Cited by:
    1. L. Balbo & M.L. Gavard-Perret, 2010. "L'utilisation du cadrage des conséquences au sein des messages de sante publique : bilan et perspectives pour la recherche en marketing," Post-Print halshs-00534782, HAL.
    2. Miceli, Gaetano "Nino" & Pieters, Rik, 2010. "Looking more or less alike: Determinants of perceived visual similarity between copycat and leading brands," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 63(11), pages 1121-1128, November.
    3. Tine Bock & Patrick Kenhove, 2010. "Consumer Ethics: The Role of Self-Regulatory Focus," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 97(2), pages 241-255, December.
    4. Cheng, Yin-Hui & Yen, HsiuJu Rebecca & Chuang, Shih-Chieh & Chang, Chia-Jung, 2013. "Product option framing under the influence of a promotion versus prevention focus," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 402-413.


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