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            Regulatory Focus and Its Underlying Cognitive Systems


                                       By Ko, Eun Hee



                                    INTRODUCTION


     Adalia is currently planning her summer vacation this year. She is a single, living alone,

and works for Mckinsey consulting firm as a lawyer in New York City. She is considering

three places for her vacation, which are Sorrento in Italy, Chantilly in France, and Bali in

Indonesia. She thinks that there is nothing important than her rest in her vacation because she

has been tired enough due to heavy work. Emily is also making her summer vacation plan but

she should consider much more things than Adalia in selecting a vacation place since she is

married, and have two kids and a husband; therefore she needs to be much more careful than

Emily in deciding vacation places, considering her children’s safety and comfort or her

husband’s taste. After contemplating for a wile, she finally decides to go to a resort in Florida,

which is relatively near her home and safe compared to other dreaming vacation places. Even

though she is a dentist in New York City and has been tired enough by her hard work so that

she is aspiring to go to a dreaming vacation as well as Adalia, she needs to consider much

more things than Adalia because of her situation.

   Although the two women are in the same decision making situation and have similar

aspirations toward vacation, their final decisions are different; in case of Adalia, her own

preference or aspiration toward her vacation works as the most decisive factor in her decision

making process, whereas Emily should control her own aspiration in this selection because

her family’s safety or comfort is more important consideration rather than her own aspiration

or hope.
2


   The two examples above showed how different persons in different situations make their

decisions with distinct goals highlighted in a regulatory focus theory, in which individuals can

be classified into two categories in terms of their motivations; ideals and oughts (Higgins

1997). Specifically, the scenarios above show that promotion-focused individuals who have

the goal of ideals motivated by their aspirations or hopes and prevention-focused individuals

who have the goal of oughts by their obligations or responsibilities behave differently in

selecting their vacation places.

   The principles of self-regulatory focus are important to consider in the context of

consumer behavior because these higher order goals of approach and avoidance provide

insight into how certain lower order consumption goals are made as fulfilled (Aaker and Lee,

2001). Although Adalia and Emily have the same functional goal of selecting vacation places,

they have distinct goals of prevention and promotion, influenced by different considerations,

and the different goals influenced the two friends on making their choices.

     Although a large body of the research regarding regulatory focus has focused on its

effect or influences, little research has studied its cognitive mechanism that underlies

regulatory focus effects. The purpose of this article is to investigate the underlying cognitive

mechanism of regulatory focus and another factor that may moderate the reliance on the self-

regulation tendencies, which is a negatively/positively framed outcome.

     This study reviews research on how ideals and oughts operate and discuss how

regulatory focus is related to cognitive systems. Then, it reports on three studies. The results

suggest that: (a) Promotion-focused consumers rely more on cognitive System 1 rather than

System 2, and prevention-focused consumers rely more on cognitive System 2 rather than

System 1, when they form an evaluation, ;(b) the relations between regulatory focus and

cognitive system is replicated in a more consumer-relevant context, and ;(c) attribute framing

effects (positive or negative) influence consumers’ tendency toward oughts or ideals as well

as their reliance on Cognitive Systems.
3




                          BACKGROUND RESEARCH


Regulatory focus and Cognitive Systems

      Higgins (1997) proposed that individuals are broadly categorized into two classes in

relation to ideals versus oughts. Ideals refer to desired end-states represent their own or

significant others’ hopes, wishes, and aspirations while oughts denote their own or significant

others’ beliefs about their duties, obligations, and responsibilities. In general, ideal self-

regulation involves a promotion focus, while ought self-regulation involves a prevention

focus. Individuals who follow a promotion focus perceive their goals as hopes and aspirations,

and therefore sensitive to the presence or absence of such positive outcomes. On the whole,

the natural tendency of promotion-focused individuals is to approach matches to their goals.

On the other hand, individuals who pursue a prevention focus perceive their goals as duties

and obligations and thus they are sensitive to the absence or presence of negative outcomes.

Overall, the natural tendency of prevention-focused individuals is to avoid mismatches to

their goals.

      Individuals who hold alternative regulatory focus demonstrate that they are in different

psychological states during the process of goal attainment (Crowe and Higgins 1997), and it

induces the following assumption; the individuals rely on different cognitive mechanisms as

well as different psychological states during the process of goal attainment. Crowe and

Higgins (1997) found that the promotion and prevention modes of self-regulation foster

different patterns of exploration and different attitude toward risk. According to them,

promotion centers on approaching matches to desired end states, therefore it seems to trigger

a drive to capture as many existing opportunities as possible, and this drive fosters a more

eager form of exploration. On the other hands, they said that prevention centers on avoiding

mismatches to desired end states, thus it seems to trigger a drive to protect against potential
4


threats, and this drive fosters a more vigilant form of exploration. Several researches have

shown that vigilant reliance on substantive information in persuasion (Bless, Mackie, and

Schwarz 1992; Gray 1971; Friedman and Forster 2000), whereas an eager form of exploration

should encourage the reliance on affective information in persuasion (Friedman and Forster

2000; Epstein 1990; Bless et al. 1992).

      As for the reliance on substance and affection, two kinds of cognitive systems were

suggested. Stanovich and West (2000) proposed System 1 and System 2, which are two kinds

of distinguished cognitive processes. According to them, the operations of System 1 are fast,

automatic, effortless, associative, and emotionally charged, while the operation of System 2

are slower, serial, effortful, and deliberately controlled. As proved in the previous research

about the ideals and oughts and the reliance on affect versus substance in persuasion, if it is

likely that promotion (prevention) - focused consumers rely more on affective (substantive)

information than substantive (affective) information, it can be assumed that promotion versus

prevention- focused consumers rely more on Cognitive System 1 versus Cognitive System 2

than Cognitive System 2 versus Cognitive System 1.



The effects of framed information

     Research attests that the regulatory focus a person assumes in a given instance can be the

result of either chronic tendencies or situational influences that temporarily encourage a

particular focus (Higgins et al. 1994). That is, not only can regulatory focus vary across

individuals with their chronic individual differences, but can situation induce promotion or

prevention focus by making individuals think about their hope and aspirations versus think

about their duties and obligations, respectively.

     Research performed within the framework of regulatory focus theory studied the results

of promotion and prevention focus for diverse moderators or outcomes related to memory,

mood, task enjoyment, creativity, justification, motivation, and preferences for stability versus
5


change. For example, Idson et al. (2007) showed that positive outcomes fits a promotion

focus more than a prevention focus, whereas the reverse is true for negative outcomes, and

that anticipating a desirable choice is more intensely positive for promotion than prevention,

and anticipating an undesirable choice is more intensely negative for prevention than

promotion.

     Based on the previous research about the effects of various moderators and especially the

effects of positive and negative outcomes on promotion and prevention focuses, it can be

assumed that negative or positive information is related to regulatory focus or it can have

influence on individuals’ regulatory focus.



                                         MODEL


                                          FIGURE 1

                    RERULATORY FOCUS AND COGNITIVE SYSTEMS




    STUDY 1

    Regulatory focus & Cognitive                      Negatively framed attribute


    Promotion                            System                               System
     Focused                                1                                    1
   Consumers


    Prevention                           System                               System
     Focused                                2                                    2
   Consumers

                                                         Positively framed attribute


                                                                    STUDY 3

                                                                    Attributes framing effects
6




                                      HYPOTHESES


Study 1

     This study will focus on understanding the underlying mechanism which influences the

judgment, thought, and behavior of promotion- and prevention-focused self-regulation.

Kahneman suggests two Cognitive Systems, which are System 1 and System 2. According to

him, the individuals relying more on System 1 are more likely to use intuition whose

operations are fast, automatic, effortless, associative, and often emotionally charged, whereas

the individuals depending more on System 2 are more likely to use reasoning whose

operations are slower, serial, effortful, and deliberately controlled.

     The distinction between promotion- and prevention-focused self-regulation, which ideals

and oughts tap into, appears to be a strong predictor of judgment, thought, and behavior (e.g.,

Aaker and Lee 2001; Kardes and Cronley 2000). For instance, Aaker and Lee (2001) revealed

that consumers with an independent self view, who tend to be promotion-focused, are more

persuaded by message focusing on positive outcomes, whereas people with an interdependent

self view, who tend to be prevention-focused, are more persuaded by messages emphasizing

negative outcomes. Pham and Avnet (2004) showed that in persuasion the accessibility of

ideals increases consumers’ reliance on their subjective affective responses to the ad relative

to the substance of the message, whereas the accessibility of oughts increases consumers’

reliance on the substance of the message relative to their subjective affective responses.

     Several lines of argument have shown that vigilant (and risk-averse) form of exploration

to which prevention-focused individuals more depend on should encourage the reliance on

substantive information in persuasion and eager form of exploration to which promotion-

focused individuals more depend on should encourage the reliance on affective information in

persuasion. Based on these previous findings, following hypotheses have been created.
7




H1a: Promotion-focused consumers rely more on cognitive System 1 rather than System 2,

when they form an evaluation.

H1b: Prevention-focused consumers rely more on cognitive System 2 rather than System 1,

when they form an evaluation.



Study 2

     Study 1 provides the evidence that individuals who adopt a promotion versus prevention

focus rely more on Cognitive System 1 versus Cognitive System 2. Study 2 addresses this

issue under a more consumer-relevant context. To conduct this study, two kinds of ads which

will be used to prime participants as promotion- and prevention focus are utilized. After

manipulated, the participants will be asked to imagine that they are in product purchasing

situations and which Cognitive Systems they rely on when they make a purchase decision.



Study 3

     Study 3 will seek to offer the evidence regulatory focus as the result of situational

influences that temporarily encourage a particular focus. Research attests that the regulatory

focus a person assumes in a given instance can be the result of either chronic tendencies or

situational influences that temporarily encourage a particular focus (Higgins et al. 1994).

     This study will explore if consumers’ regulatory focuses are influenced by information

traits (negative or positive). Negative constructs predominating in memory could serve as an

indicator that danger is possible, and therefore, guide our attention to negative information.

Alternatively, positive constructs predominating could indicate that there is little risk of

danger and that negative information need not be weighted or attended to as heavily (Smith et

al. 2006). Higgins (1987) attests that individuals who pursue a promotion focus perceive their

goals as hopes and aspirations, and thus they are sensitive to the presence or absence of such
8


positive outcomes. In contrast, individuals who adopt a prevention focus perceive the same

goals as duties and obligations, making them sensitive to the absence or presence of negative

outcomes. Idson et al. (2004) showed that positive outcome fits a promotion focus more than

a prevention focus, whereas the reverse is true for negative outcomes.

     Based on the studies above, it can be assumed that negative information decreases a

promotion focus, while positive information decreases a prevention focus. In addition, it can

be also suggested that the information traits influence consumers’ Cognitive Systems which

closely relate to the regulatory focus.



H2: Attribute framing effects (positive or negative) influence consumers’ tendency toward

oughts or ideals as well as their reliance on Cognitive Systems.



More specifically,



H2a: Negatively framed outcomes will increase promotion-focused consumers’ reliance on

Cognitive System 2.

H2b: Positively framed outcomes will increase prevention-focused consumers’ reliance on

Cognitive System 1.



                                          PRETEST
Pretest 1

      This pretest examines a priming manipulation of ideals versus oughts which would be

used in studies 1 and 3. This manipulation was on the basis of a procedure developed by

Higgins and his colleagues. Even though this manipulation method was not clearly verified to

influence judgment and behavior in a manner consistent with the activation of promotion

versus prevention orientations, Higgins et al. (1987, 1994) and Liberman et al. (1999)
9


reported that the procedure does manipulate the relative accessibility of ideals versus oughts.

SUBJECTS and PROCEDURES

     Twenty undergraduate and graduate students recruited from Seoul National University

were randomly assigned to either a primed-ideals or a primed-oughts condition. The subjects

in both groups are asked to complete several tasks unrelated to the present study, and then an

experimental priming manipulation was used to induce in participants a promotion focus and

prevention focus (see Higgins et al., 1994). In a primed-ideals condition, subjects were asked

to think about their current and past hopes, aspirations, and hopes, dream, and to list two of

them. In the primed-oughts condition, participants were asked to think about their current and

past duties, obligations, and responsibilities, and to list two of them. Participants completed

this part at their own pace. After manipulation, participants were introduced to a supposedly

unrelated study on decision making. All of the participants were presented with the following

scenario:



            Imagine that you and your roommate have just moved into a new apartment.
            Your friends come to visit your at your new place and give each of you a gift.
            They give you a Seoul National University coffee mug [pen]. The mug [pen]
            Sell for 5,000won at the bookstore. They give your roommate a pen [a coffee
            mug], that also sells for 5,000won at the bookstore. Suppose your roommate
            offers you the chance to exchange the mug [pen] you were given for the pen
            [mug]. Would you accept the offer?



At the end of the study, all participants were fully debriefed and thanked for taking part.



                                    METHODOLOGY


Study 1

    SUBJECTS and PROCEDURES
10


     About one hundred undergraduates and graduates students will be recruited from subject

pool at Seoul National University for this study. When the subjects arrive at the experimental

session they will be told that the purpose of this study is to see how people perceive various

life events and their values in their life. Then, all the participants in the subject pool are asked

to fill out the experimental questionnaires for manipulation of regulatory focus. Half of the

students will be randomly assigned to a primed-ideals condition, and half assigned to a

primed-oughts condition. Finally, they will be requested to answer to the questionnaire for

checking Cognitive Systems. After completing the two questionnaires, the subjects will be

thanked for taking part with small present for the participation.



                                            FIGURE 2

  COGNITIVE SYSTEMS PROPOSED TO UNDERLIE REGULATORY FOCUS EFFECTS

     Regulatory Focus             Type of Cognitive Systems              Characteristics of

                                                                       Consumer Decisions




  Promotion Focus                            Cognitive                   Automatic, Effortless,
                                             System 1                    Associative,        and
                                                                         Emotionally charged



   Promotion Focus                          Cognitive                    Slower,          Serial,
                                            System 2                     Effortful,          and
                                                                         Deliberately controlled




    MATERIALS

     Following measurement will be used to check subjects’ Cognitive Systems, which are

intuitional thinking (Cognitive System 1) and reasoning thinking (Cognitive System 2):
11


     1. Short version of Rational-experimental Inventory (REI) Items modified into

          contextual items. Subjects will rate themselves on 7-point scales, where 1 is very

          unlikely and 7 very likely. Half of the items are to check intuitional thinking and half

          are to check reasoning thinking. In these items, reverse items are included.



Study 2

       SUBJECTS and PROCEDURES

     About 100 undergraduate and graduate students at Seoul National University will be

employed for this study. Two kinds of print ads, which will be used to prime promotion focus

and prevention focus, will be selected. Half of the subjects will be randomly assigned to a

primed-ideals condition, and half assigned to a primed-oughts condition using print

advertising. Following procedures will be the same as Study 1. Then, they will be asked to fill

out the questionnaire for checking Cognitive Systems, and thanked for taking part with small

present for the participation at the end of this study.



Study 3

    SUBJECTS and PROCEDURES

    In this study, about 100 undergraduate and graduate students at Seoul National University

will be recruited for this study as well. Two kinds of print ads which would be used in Study 2

also employed to manipulate regulatory focuses. Half of the subjects will be assigned to a

primed-ideals condition, and half assigned to a primed-oughts condition using print

advertising. After that, the participants will be asked to fill out the short version of Rational-

Experimental Inventory to check which Cognitive Systems they rely on shortly after the

manipulation of regulatory focus. Then, discount framing/ penalty framing will be sued in this

study as positively/negatively framed outcomes. This study about the effect of discount and

penalty framing was modeled on a well-known example from Thaler (1980). He pointed out
12


that “[the credit card lobby] preferred that any difference between cash and credit card

customers take the form of a cash discount rather than a credit card surcharge” (p.45). This is

because giving up a discount is experienced as a forgone gain or nongain, whereas a surcharge

or penalty experienced as a loss, which is more intense according to prospect theory

(Kahneman & Tversky, 1979). In this study, the discount framing and penalty framing will be

used as opposed to previous research. That is, if previous studies employ the framing study to

know whether discount/ penalty framing fits or intensifies promotion/ prevention focus, in

this study it is used to recognize whether it decreases promotion/prevention focus,

diminishing the reliance on Cognitive System 1 & 2. Therefore, the discount framing and

penalty framing will be used in this study reversely; that is to say, discount framing will be

applied for prevention-focused consumers to identify if it diminishes their reliance on

Cognitive System 2 and penalty framing for promotion-focused consumer to know it is

reduces their reliance on Cognitive System 1. Specifically, within discount condition,

preventionally manipulated participants will evaluate either the choice of getting a discount

{gain}or giving up a discount {nongain}. And within the penalty condition, promotionally

manipulated participants will evaluate either the choice of avoiding a penalty (nonloss} or

paying a penalty (loss). After the evaluation, all the participants in this study will be asked

again which Cognitive Systems (intuitional or reasonable) they will depend on in a

purchasing situation.



    MATERIALS

   Following scenario taken from Thaler (1980) study will be used as positively/negatively

framed outcomes:

      For prevention- focused participants
       “The book’s price is $65. As you wait in line to pay for it, you realize that the store
       offers a $5 discount for paying in cash. Of course you would like to pay $60 for the
       book. You have both cash and a credit card and have to choose between them.”
13



       After reading the scenario, half of the participants answered on a scale from -9
       (very bad) to 9 (very good) the following question:


       “How would it feel paying in cash and getting the $5 discount?” (gain), and the other
       half answered, on the same scale, the question “How would if feel using your credit
       card and giving up the $5 discount?” (nongain)


      For promotion- focused participants
       “The book’s price is $60. As you wait in line to pay for it, you realize that the store
       offers a $5 penalty for paying in credit. Of course you would like to pay $60 for the
       book. You have both cash and a credit card and have to choose between them.”


       After reading the scenario, half of the participants answered on a scale from -9
       (very bad) to 9 (very good) the following question:


       “How would it feel paying in cash and avoiding the $5 penalty?” (nonloss), and
       the other half answered, on the same scale, the question “How would if feel using
       your credit card and paying the $5 penalty?” (loss).




                                      REFERENCE


Aaker, Jennifer L. and Angela Y. Lee (2001), “’I’ Seek Pleasures and ‘We’ Avoid Pains: The
     Role of Self-Regulatory Goals in Information Processing and Persuasion,” Journal of
     Consumer Research, 28 (June), 33-49.
Crow, Ellen, and Higgins, E. Tory (1997), “Regulatory Focus and Strategic Inclinations:
     Promotion and Prevention in Decision Making,” Organizational Behavior and Human
     Decision Processes, 69 (February), 117-32.
Friedman, Ronald S. and Jens Forster (2000), “The Effects of Approach and Avoidance Motor
     Actions on Elements of Creative Insight,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,
     79 (October), 477-492.
Higgins, E. Tory (1987), “Self-Discrepancy: A Theory Relating Self and Affect,”
     Psychological Review, 94 (July), 319-340.
Higgins, E. Tory, Christopher J. R. Roney, Ellen Crowe, and Charles Hymes (1994), “Ideals
     versus Ought Predilections for Approach and Avoidance: Distinct Self-Regulatory
14


     Systems,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 66 (February), 276-286.
Higgins, E. Tory (1997), “Beyond Pleasure and Pain,” American Psychologist, 52 (December),
     1280-1300.
Idson Lorraine Chen, Nira Liberman, and E. Tory Higgins (2004), “Imagining How You’d
     Feel: The Role of Motivational Experiences From Regulatory Fit,” Personality and
     Social Psychology Bulletin, 30 (July), 926-937.
Kahneman, D., and Tversky, A. (1979), “Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under
     Risk,” Econometrica, 47, 263-291.
Kardes, Frank R. and Maria L. Cronley (2000), “The Role of Approach/Avoidance
     Asymmetries in Motivated Belief Formation and Change,” in The Why of Consumption,
     ed. S. Ratneshwar, David Glen Mick, and Cynthia Huffman, London: Routledge, 81-97.
Liberman, Nira, Lorraine Chen Idson, Christopher J. Camacho, Higgins, E. Tory (1999),
     “Promotion and Prevention Choices between Stability and Change,” Journal of
     Personality and Social Psychology, 77 (December), 1135-1145.
Pham, Michel T. and Avnet, Tamar (2004), “Ideals and Oughts and the Reliance on Affect
     versus Substance in Persuasion,” Journal of Consumer Research, 30 (March), 503-518.
Smith, N. Kyle, Larsen Jeff T., Chartrand Tanya L., and John T. Cacioppo (2006), “Being Bad
     Isn’t Always Good: Affective Context Moderates the Attention Bias Toward Negative
     Information,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 90 (February), 210-220 .
Thaler, R. (1980), “Toward a Positive Theory of Consumer Choice,” Journal of Economic
     Behavior and Organization, 1, 39-60.
Bless, Herbert, Diane M. Mackie, and, Norbert Schwarz (1992), “Mood Effects on Attitude
     Judgments: Independent Effects of Mood Before and After Message Elaboration,”
     Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63 (October), 585-595.
Gray, Jeffrey A. (1971), The Psychology of Fear and Stress, Cambridge: Cambridge
     University Press.
Epstein, Seymour (1990), “Cognitive-Experiential Self-Theory,” in Handbook of Personality:
     Theory and Research, ed. Lawrence A. Pervin, New York: Guilford, 165-192.
Stanovich, Keith E. and West, Richard F. (2000), “Individual Differences in Reasoning:
     Implications for the Rationality Debate?” Behavioral and Brain Science, 23 (October),
     645-665.

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Regulatory focus and its underlying cognitive systems

  • 1. 1 Regulatory Focus and Its Underlying Cognitive Systems By Ko, Eun Hee INTRODUCTION Adalia is currently planning her summer vacation this year. She is a single, living alone, and works for Mckinsey consulting firm as a lawyer in New York City. She is considering three places for her vacation, which are Sorrento in Italy, Chantilly in France, and Bali in Indonesia. She thinks that there is nothing important than her rest in her vacation because she has been tired enough due to heavy work. Emily is also making her summer vacation plan but she should consider much more things than Adalia in selecting a vacation place since she is married, and have two kids and a husband; therefore she needs to be much more careful than Emily in deciding vacation places, considering her children’s safety and comfort or her husband’s taste. After contemplating for a wile, she finally decides to go to a resort in Florida, which is relatively near her home and safe compared to other dreaming vacation places. Even though she is a dentist in New York City and has been tired enough by her hard work so that she is aspiring to go to a dreaming vacation as well as Adalia, she needs to consider much more things than Adalia because of her situation. Although the two women are in the same decision making situation and have similar aspirations toward vacation, their final decisions are different; in case of Adalia, her own preference or aspiration toward her vacation works as the most decisive factor in her decision making process, whereas Emily should control her own aspiration in this selection because her family’s safety or comfort is more important consideration rather than her own aspiration or hope.
  • 2. 2 The two examples above showed how different persons in different situations make their decisions with distinct goals highlighted in a regulatory focus theory, in which individuals can be classified into two categories in terms of their motivations; ideals and oughts (Higgins 1997). Specifically, the scenarios above show that promotion-focused individuals who have the goal of ideals motivated by their aspirations or hopes and prevention-focused individuals who have the goal of oughts by their obligations or responsibilities behave differently in selecting their vacation places. The principles of self-regulatory focus are important to consider in the context of consumer behavior because these higher order goals of approach and avoidance provide insight into how certain lower order consumption goals are made as fulfilled (Aaker and Lee, 2001). Although Adalia and Emily have the same functional goal of selecting vacation places, they have distinct goals of prevention and promotion, influenced by different considerations, and the different goals influenced the two friends on making their choices. Although a large body of the research regarding regulatory focus has focused on its effect or influences, little research has studied its cognitive mechanism that underlies regulatory focus effects. The purpose of this article is to investigate the underlying cognitive mechanism of regulatory focus and another factor that may moderate the reliance on the self- regulation tendencies, which is a negatively/positively framed outcome. This study reviews research on how ideals and oughts operate and discuss how regulatory focus is related to cognitive systems. Then, it reports on three studies. The results suggest that: (a) Promotion-focused consumers rely more on cognitive System 1 rather than System 2, and prevention-focused consumers rely more on cognitive System 2 rather than System 1, when they form an evaluation, ;(b) the relations between regulatory focus and cognitive system is replicated in a more consumer-relevant context, and ;(c) attribute framing effects (positive or negative) influence consumers’ tendency toward oughts or ideals as well as their reliance on Cognitive Systems.
  • 3. 3 BACKGROUND RESEARCH Regulatory focus and Cognitive Systems Higgins (1997) proposed that individuals are broadly categorized into two classes in relation to ideals versus oughts. Ideals refer to desired end-states represent their own or significant others’ hopes, wishes, and aspirations while oughts denote their own or significant others’ beliefs about their duties, obligations, and responsibilities. In general, ideal self- regulation involves a promotion focus, while ought self-regulation involves a prevention focus. Individuals who follow a promotion focus perceive their goals as hopes and aspirations, and therefore sensitive to the presence or absence of such positive outcomes. On the whole, the natural tendency of promotion-focused individuals is to approach matches to their goals. On the other hand, individuals who pursue a prevention focus perceive their goals as duties and obligations and thus they are sensitive to the absence or presence of negative outcomes. Overall, the natural tendency of prevention-focused individuals is to avoid mismatches to their goals. Individuals who hold alternative regulatory focus demonstrate that they are in different psychological states during the process of goal attainment (Crowe and Higgins 1997), and it induces the following assumption; the individuals rely on different cognitive mechanisms as well as different psychological states during the process of goal attainment. Crowe and Higgins (1997) found that the promotion and prevention modes of self-regulation foster different patterns of exploration and different attitude toward risk. According to them, promotion centers on approaching matches to desired end states, therefore it seems to trigger a drive to capture as many existing opportunities as possible, and this drive fosters a more eager form of exploration. On the other hands, they said that prevention centers on avoiding mismatches to desired end states, thus it seems to trigger a drive to protect against potential
  • 4. 4 threats, and this drive fosters a more vigilant form of exploration. Several researches have shown that vigilant reliance on substantive information in persuasion (Bless, Mackie, and Schwarz 1992; Gray 1971; Friedman and Forster 2000), whereas an eager form of exploration should encourage the reliance on affective information in persuasion (Friedman and Forster 2000; Epstein 1990; Bless et al. 1992). As for the reliance on substance and affection, two kinds of cognitive systems were suggested. Stanovich and West (2000) proposed System 1 and System 2, which are two kinds of distinguished cognitive processes. According to them, the operations of System 1 are fast, automatic, effortless, associative, and emotionally charged, while the operation of System 2 are slower, serial, effortful, and deliberately controlled. As proved in the previous research about the ideals and oughts and the reliance on affect versus substance in persuasion, if it is likely that promotion (prevention) - focused consumers rely more on affective (substantive) information than substantive (affective) information, it can be assumed that promotion versus prevention- focused consumers rely more on Cognitive System 1 versus Cognitive System 2 than Cognitive System 2 versus Cognitive System 1. The effects of framed information Research attests that the regulatory focus a person assumes in a given instance can be the result of either chronic tendencies or situational influences that temporarily encourage a particular focus (Higgins et al. 1994). That is, not only can regulatory focus vary across individuals with their chronic individual differences, but can situation induce promotion or prevention focus by making individuals think about their hope and aspirations versus think about their duties and obligations, respectively. Research performed within the framework of regulatory focus theory studied the results of promotion and prevention focus for diverse moderators or outcomes related to memory, mood, task enjoyment, creativity, justification, motivation, and preferences for stability versus
  • 5. 5 change. For example, Idson et al. (2007) showed that positive outcomes fits a promotion focus more than a prevention focus, whereas the reverse is true for negative outcomes, and that anticipating a desirable choice is more intensely positive for promotion than prevention, and anticipating an undesirable choice is more intensely negative for prevention than promotion. Based on the previous research about the effects of various moderators and especially the effects of positive and negative outcomes on promotion and prevention focuses, it can be assumed that negative or positive information is related to regulatory focus or it can have influence on individuals’ regulatory focus. MODEL FIGURE 1 RERULATORY FOCUS AND COGNITIVE SYSTEMS STUDY 1 Regulatory focus & Cognitive Negatively framed attribute Promotion System System Focused 1 1 Consumers Prevention System System Focused 2 2 Consumers Positively framed attribute STUDY 3 Attributes framing effects
  • 6. 6 HYPOTHESES Study 1 This study will focus on understanding the underlying mechanism which influences the judgment, thought, and behavior of promotion- and prevention-focused self-regulation. Kahneman suggests two Cognitive Systems, which are System 1 and System 2. According to him, the individuals relying more on System 1 are more likely to use intuition whose operations are fast, automatic, effortless, associative, and often emotionally charged, whereas the individuals depending more on System 2 are more likely to use reasoning whose operations are slower, serial, effortful, and deliberately controlled. The distinction between promotion- and prevention-focused self-regulation, which ideals and oughts tap into, appears to be a strong predictor of judgment, thought, and behavior (e.g., Aaker and Lee 2001; Kardes and Cronley 2000). For instance, Aaker and Lee (2001) revealed that consumers with an independent self view, who tend to be promotion-focused, are more persuaded by message focusing on positive outcomes, whereas people with an interdependent self view, who tend to be prevention-focused, are more persuaded by messages emphasizing negative outcomes. Pham and Avnet (2004) showed that in persuasion the accessibility of ideals increases consumers’ reliance on their subjective affective responses to the ad relative to the substance of the message, whereas the accessibility of oughts increases consumers’ reliance on the substance of the message relative to their subjective affective responses. Several lines of argument have shown that vigilant (and risk-averse) form of exploration to which prevention-focused individuals more depend on should encourage the reliance on substantive information in persuasion and eager form of exploration to which promotion- focused individuals more depend on should encourage the reliance on affective information in persuasion. Based on these previous findings, following hypotheses have been created.
  • 7. 7 H1a: Promotion-focused consumers rely more on cognitive System 1 rather than System 2, when they form an evaluation. H1b: Prevention-focused consumers rely more on cognitive System 2 rather than System 1, when they form an evaluation. Study 2 Study 1 provides the evidence that individuals who adopt a promotion versus prevention focus rely more on Cognitive System 1 versus Cognitive System 2. Study 2 addresses this issue under a more consumer-relevant context. To conduct this study, two kinds of ads which will be used to prime participants as promotion- and prevention focus are utilized. After manipulated, the participants will be asked to imagine that they are in product purchasing situations and which Cognitive Systems they rely on when they make a purchase decision. Study 3 Study 3 will seek to offer the evidence regulatory focus as the result of situational influences that temporarily encourage a particular focus. Research attests that the regulatory focus a person assumes in a given instance can be the result of either chronic tendencies or situational influences that temporarily encourage a particular focus (Higgins et al. 1994). This study will explore if consumers’ regulatory focuses are influenced by information traits (negative or positive). Negative constructs predominating in memory could serve as an indicator that danger is possible, and therefore, guide our attention to negative information. Alternatively, positive constructs predominating could indicate that there is little risk of danger and that negative information need not be weighted or attended to as heavily (Smith et al. 2006). Higgins (1987) attests that individuals who pursue a promotion focus perceive their goals as hopes and aspirations, and thus they are sensitive to the presence or absence of such
  • 8. 8 positive outcomes. In contrast, individuals who adopt a prevention focus perceive the same goals as duties and obligations, making them sensitive to the absence or presence of negative outcomes. Idson et al. (2004) showed that positive outcome fits a promotion focus more than a prevention focus, whereas the reverse is true for negative outcomes. Based on the studies above, it can be assumed that negative information decreases a promotion focus, while positive information decreases a prevention focus. In addition, it can be also suggested that the information traits influence consumers’ Cognitive Systems which closely relate to the regulatory focus. H2: Attribute framing effects (positive or negative) influence consumers’ tendency toward oughts or ideals as well as their reliance on Cognitive Systems. More specifically, H2a: Negatively framed outcomes will increase promotion-focused consumers’ reliance on Cognitive System 2. H2b: Positively framed outcomes will increase prevention-focused consumers’ reliance on Cognitive System 1. PRETEST Pretest 1 This pretest examines a priming manipulation of ideals versus oughts which would be used in studies 1 and 3. This manipulation was on the basis of a procedure developed by Higgins and his colleagues. Even though this manipulation method was not clearly verified to influence judgment and behavior in a manner consistent with the activation of promotion versus prevention orientations, Higgins et al. (1987, 1994) and Liberman et al. (1999)
  • 9. 9 reported that the procedure does manipulate the relative accessibility of ideals versus oughts. SUBJECTS and PROCEDURES Twenty undergraduate and graduate students recruited from Seoul National University were randomly assigned to either a primed-ideals or a primed-oughts condition. The subjects in both groups are asked to complete several tasks unrelated to the present study, and then an experimental priming manipulation was used to induce in participants a promotion focus and prevention focus (see Higgins et al., 1994). In a primed-ideals condition, subjects were asked to think about their current and past hopes, aspirations, and hopes, dream, and to list two of them. In the primed-oughts condition, participants were asked to think about their current and past duties, obligations, and responsibilities, and to list two of them. Participants completed this part at their own pace. After manipulation, participants were introduced to a supposedly unrelated study on decision making. All of the participants were presented with the following scenario: Imagine that you and your roommate have just moved into a new apartment. Your friends come to visit your at your new place and give each of you a gift. They give you a Seoul National University coffee mug [pen]. The mug [pen] Sell for 5,000won at the bookstore. They give your roommate a pen [a coffee mug], that also sells for 5,000won at the bookstore. Suppose your roommate offers you the chance to exchange the mug [pen] you were given for the pen [mug]. Would you accept the offer? At the end of the study, all participants were fully debriefed and thanked for taking part. METHODOLOGY Study 1 SUBJECTS and PROCEDURES
  • 10. 10 About one hundred undergraduates and graduates students will be recruited from subject pool at Seoul National University for this study. When the subjects arrive at the experimental session they will be told that the purpose of this study is to see how people perceive various life events and their values in their life. Then, all the participants in the subject pool are asked to fill out the experimental questionnaires for manipulation of regulatory focus. Half of the students will be randomly assigned to a primed-ideals condition, and half assigned to a primed-oughts condition. Finally, they will be requested to answer to the questionnaire for checking Cognitive Systems. After completing the two questionnaires, the subjects will be thanked for taking part with small present for the participation. FIGURE 2 COGNITIVE SYSTEMS PROPOSED TO UNDERLIE REGULATORY FOCUS EFFECTS Regulatory Focus Type of Cognitive Systems Characteristics of Consumer Decisions Promotion Focus Cognitive Automatic, Effortless, System 1 Associative, and Emotionally charged Promotion Focus Cognitive Slower, Serial, System 2 Effortful, and Deliberately controlled MATERIALS Following measurement will be used to check subjects’ Cognitive Systems, which are intuitional thinking (Cognitive System 1) and reasoning thinking (Cognitive System 2):
  • 11. 11 1. Short version of Rational-experimental Inventory (REI) Items modified into contextual items. Subjects will rate themselves on 7-point scales, where 1 is very unlikely and 7 very likely. Half of the items are to check intuitional thinking and half are to check reasoning thinking. In these items, reverse items are included. Study 2 SUBJECTS and PROCEDURES About 100 undergraduate and graduate students at Seoul National University will be employed for this study. Two kinds of print ads, which will be used to prime promotion focus and prevention focus, will be selected. Half of the subjects will be randomly assigned to a primed-ideals condition, and half assigned to a primed-oughts condition using print advertising. Following procedures will be the same as Study 1. Then, they will be asked to fill out the questionnaire for checking Cognitive Systems, and thanked for taking part with small present for the participation at the end of this study. Study 3 SUBJECTS and PROCEDURES In this study, about 100 undergraduate and graduate students at Seoul National University will be recruited for this study as well. Two kinds of print ads which would be used in Study 2 also employed to manipulate regulatory focuses. Half of the subjects will be assigned to a primed-ideals condition, and half assigned to a primed-oughts condition using print advertising. After that, the participants will be asked to fill out the short version of Rational- Experimental Inventory to check which Cognitive Systems they rely on shortly after the manipulation of regulatory focus. Then, discount framing/ penalty framing will be sued in this study as positively/negatively framed outcomes. This study about the effect of discount and penalty framing was modeled on a well-known example from Thaler (1980). He pointed out
  • 12. 12 that “[the credit card lobby] preferred that any difference between cash and credit card customers take the form of a cash discount rather than a credit card surcharge” (p.45). This is because giving up a discount is experienced as a forgone gain or nongain, whereas a surcharge or penalty experienced as a loss, which is more intense according to prospect theory (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979). In this study, the discount framing and penalty framing will be used as opposed to previous research. That is, if previous studies employ the framing study to know whether discount/ penalty framing fits or intensifies promotion/ prevention focus, in this study it is used to recognize whether it decreases promotion/prevention focus, diminishing the reliance on Cognitive System 1 & 2. Therefore, the discount framing and penalty framing will be used in this study reversely; that is to say, discount framing will be applied for prevention-focused consumers to identify if it diminishes their reliance on Cognitive System 2 and penalty framing for promotion-focused consumer to know it is reduces their reliance on Cognitive System 1. Specifically, within discount condition, preventionally manipulated participants will evaluate either the choice of getting a discount {gain}or giving up a discount {nongain}. And within the penalty condition, promotionally manipulated participants will evaluate either the choice of avoiding a penalty (nonloss} or paying a penalty (loss). After the evaluation, all the participants in this study will be asked again which Cognitive Systems (intuitional or reasonable) they will depend on in a purchasing situation. MATERIALS Following scenario taken from Thaler (1980) study will be used as positively/negatively framed outcomes: For prevention- focused participants “The book’s price is $65. As you wait in line to pay for it, you realize that the store offers a $5 discount for paying in cash. Of course you would like to pay $60 for the book. You have both cash and a credit card and have to choose between them.”
  • 13. 13 After reading the scenario, half of the participants answered on a scale from -9 (very bad) to 9 (very good) the following question: “How would it feel paying in cash and getting the $5 discount?” (gain), and the other half answered, on the same scale, the question “How would if feel using your credit card and giving up the $5 discount?” (nongain) For promotion- focused participants “The book’s price is $60. As you wait in line to pay for it, you realize that the store offers a $5 penalty for paying in credit. Of course you would like to pay $60 for the book. You have both cash and a credit card and have to choose between them.” After reading the scenario, half of the participants answered on a scale from -9 (very bad) to 9 (very good) the following question: “How would it feel paying in cash and avoiding the $5 penalty?” (nonloss), and the other half answered, on the same scale, the question “How would if feel using your credit card and paying the $5 penalty?” (loss). REFERENCE Aaker, Jennifer L. and Angela Y. Lee (2001), “’I’ Seek Pleasures and ‘We’ Avoid Pains: The Role of Self-Regulatory Goals in Information Processing and Persuasion,” Journal of Consumer Research, 28 (June), 33-49. Crow, Ellen, and Higgins, E. Tory (1997), “Regulatory Focus and Strategic Inclinations: Promotion and Prevention in Decision Making,” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 69 (February), 117-32. Friedman, Ronald S. and Jens Forster (2000), “The Effects of Approach and Avoidance Motor Actions on Elements of Creative Insight,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79 (October), 477-492. Higgins, E. Tory (1987), “Self-Discrepancy: A Theory Relating Self and Affect,” Psychological Review, 94 (July), 319-340. Higgins, E. Tory, Christopher J. R. Roney, Ellen Crowe, and Charles Hymes (1994), “Ideals versus Ought Predilections for Approach and Avoidance: Distinct Self-Regulatory
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