Research on regulatory focus theory (Higgins, 1997) suggests that performance increases if instructions fit with sportspersons’ dispositions. Sportspersons who chronically focus on wins (i.e., promotion-oriented individuals) perform best if instructions frame the objective as a promotion goal (e.g., “Try to hit!”). By contrast, sportspersons who chronically focus on losses (i.e., prevention-oriented individuals) perform best if instructions frame the objective as a prevention goal (e.g., “Try not to miss!”). Recent theorizing also suggests that regulatory focus interacts with task difficulty. In an experiment, we assessed soccer performance as a function of chronic focus, instructional focus, and task difficulty. Results support that task difficulty moderates the effects of fit on performance; fitting instructions to match the sportsperson’s chronic regulatory focus improved performance in the easy rather than the difficult task. Findings are discussed regarding the role of regulatory fit in altering subjective pressure during sports performance.
Tobias Vogel and Oliver Genschow
Sophie A. Kay and Lisa R. Grimm
exercise environments (i.e., reward structure) to match motivational orientations. We examine this idea using strength training exercise tasks. Regulatory Focus Theory Regulatory focus theory suggests that there are two different goal-seeking orientations with different motivational consequences ( Higgins
Targeted communication about health behaviors seems to be more effective than mass communication in which undifferentiated audiences receive identical messages. Regulatory focus is psychological variable that can be used to build two target groups: promotion-focused or prevention-focused people. It is hypothesized that targeting messages to an individual’s regulatory focus creates regulatory fit and is more successful to promote a physically active lifestyle than nonfit messages. Two different print messages promoting a physically active lifestyle derived from regulatory focus theory (promotion message vs. prevention message) were randomly assigned to N = 98 participants after measuring their regulatory focus. It was examined whether regulatory fit between the regulatory focus and the assigned print message would lead to more positive evaluations in the dependent variables inclination toward the message (preference for the message), intention to perform the behavior, prospective and retrospective feelings associated with the behavior (positive and negative), and perceived value of the behavior directly after reading the message. Hierarchical linear regression analyses revealed that regulatory fit led to stronger intentions in the prevention-message condition and more prospective positive and retrospective positive feelings associated with the behavior in the promotion-message condition in contrast to the nonfit conditions. Prospective positive feelings associated with the behavior mediated the effect of regulatory fit on intention. The results partly provided support for the regulatory fit concept. Matching print messages to the regulatory focus of individuals seems to be a useful approach to enhance physical activity motivation. Future studies should include an objective measure of physical activity behavior.
Kin-Kit Li, Lorna Ng, Sheung-Tak Cheng and Helene H. Fung
messages were tailored to show the benefits of PA for their heart conditions. In addition, the regulatory focus theory ( Higgins, 1987 ) may provide an alternative explanation. Message frames that are congruent with the individual’s regulatory-focus orientation are more effective than are incongruent