People are motivated by one of two fundamental needs: they are either “promotion-focused,” seeking products that will help them achieve hopes and aspirations, or they are “prevention-focused,” seeking items that help achieve a need for safety and security. According to the research, people are better able to exercise self-control when they choose goal-pursuit strategies – such as diets or money management – that “fit” with their promotion or prevention focus.
“This research has important implications for consumer welfare,” explain Jiewen Hong and Angela Y. Lee (both of Northwestern University) in the February issue of the Journal of Consumer Research. “While self-help remedies are saturating the market, resisting temptations remains a strenuous process and a constant struggle for many people. The data reported in this research offer an important step toward understanding self-control and highlight the benefits of adopting the right goal pursuit strategies.”
Given their concern for growth and accomplishments, promotion-focused individuals experience “fit” when they adopt strategies that strive toward gains. They experience “nonfit” when they adopt vigilance strategies that guard against losses, the researchers explain. In contrast, prevention-focused individuals experience “fit” when they adopt vigilance strategies to address their concern for safety and security.
In the study, adoption of strategies that “fit” was reflected in having promotion- or prevention-focused individuals list either how they anticipated they would achieve their aspiration (i.e., “What are some things you can do to make sure everything goes right"”) or how they would fulfill their obligation (i.e., “What are some of the things you can do to avoid anything that could go wrong"”)
In one study, participants who had filled out the questionnaire were then asked to choose between an apple and a chocolate bar as a snack. A remarkable 80 percent of those who had been asked to think about strategies that “fit” with their focus chose the apple, while only 20 percent of those who adopted conflicting strategies chose the apple.
Another experiment had particularly important real-world implications, gauging research participants’ willingness to get tested for hepatitis. Getting diagnostic screening for most medical conditions is considered inconvenient, unpleasant, and a hassle – it requires self-control to get tested, especially if you consider yourself low-risk.
Among participants who perceived themselves to be at low risk, those who adopted goal pursuit strategies that fit their promotion or prevention focus were more willing to get tested for hepatitis than those who were asked to think about strategies that did not fit with their pre-determined focus.
Importantly, people seemed unaware of these effects and didn’t select strategies that fit their focus when offered the choice.
“[We] find that when people adopt goal pursuit strategies that fit with their promotion or prevention focus, they have better self-control. In contrast, their self-control is weakened when they adopt goal pursuit strategies that conflict with their focus,” the researchers explain.
They conclude: “Self-control is not just about doing the right things, but also about doing things the right way.”
Jiewen Hong and Angela Y. Lee, “Be Fit and Be Strong: Mastering Self-Regulation through Regulatory Fit.” Journal of Consumer Research: February 2008.
Suzanne Wu | EurekAlert!
Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT
Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy