Motivational Influences in Consumer Behavior: the Role of Regulatory Focus

Session Chair: Rongrong Zhou, HKUST
Discussion Leader: Bob Wyer, HKUST

Special Session

Motivational Influences in Consumer Behavior: The Role of Regulatory Focus



Promotion and Prevention in Consumer Decision

Making: A Propositional Inventory

Michel Tuan Pham and E. Tory Higgins (Columbia University)


Drawing on existing empirical evidence and new conceptual analyses, the authors offer 38 theoretical propositions about the effects of promotion and prevention on consumer decision making. These propositions are organized along the traditional stages of the decision making process postulated by standard consumer behavior theory (i.e., need recognition, information search, consideration set formation, evaluation, choice, and post-choice processes). While some of these propositions have already received empirical support, most await formal empirical testing. This propositional inventory can thus be viewed as a research agenda for studying the role of regulatory focus in consumer decision making.


Understanding Impulsives’ Unwise Eating Choices

Jaideep Sengupta and Rongrong Zhou (HKUST)


This research examines why some people (eating impulsives) tend to make unwise eating choices. Drawing upon diverse theoretical perspectives on impulsive consumption, goal representation, and regulatory focus, we propose a mechanism whereby eating impulsives (vs. non-impulsives) spontaneously develop a promotion focus upon exposure to a hedonically tempting snack such as chocolate cake; their subsequent decision to consume the snack is guided by this promotion orientation. A set of four experiments provides support for this mechanism and suggests ways of correcting such impulsive eating tendencies. Theoretical and practical implications of our findings are discussed.


The Influence of Hedonic and Regulatory Focus Framing on Message Persuasion

Prashant Malaviya and C. Miguel Brendl (INSEAD)


            Two types of message framings have been distinguished, regulatory frames (highlighting a promotion versus prevention outcome), and hedonic frames (highlighting a pleasurable or painful outcome). With regulatory framing two effects have been documented: in the matching effect a message is more persuasive when its regulatory frame matches the regulatory goal orientation of the message recipient; and in the fit effect the message is more persuasive when the regulatory frame is compatible with the means of goal attainment implied in the message. In the present research, we identify conditions when both these effects are reversed. These data support an inhibition-disinhibition model of message processing.
[ to cite ]:
Session Chair: Rongrong Zhou and Discussion Leader: Bob Wyer (2006) ,"Motivational Influences in Consumer Behavior: the Role of Regulatory Focus", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 33, eds. Connie Pechmann and Linda Price, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 532-535.