Regulatory focus and message framing: A test of three accounts

Sunghwan Yi, Johann Baumgartner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


A review of previous literature shows that there are at least three ways in which regulatory focus may be related to message framing. Specifically, persuasion might be enhanced when there is a match between a person's regulatory focus and (a) the outcome focus of the message (i.e., gain vs. loss anchor); (b) the overall valence of the message (i.e., positive vs. negative valence); and (c) the type of benefit or harm emphasized (i.e., achievement vs. security). In an effort to explicitly compare and contrast these three possibilities, and to determine whether the results depend on the way regulatory focus is measured, we used a 2 (outcome focus) by 2 (overall valence) by 2 (type of benefit or harm emphasized) within-subjects factorial design and three commonly employed measures of regulatory focus to test the three accounts. The findings were most consistent with the hypothesis that the perceived persuasiveness of a message is increased when there is a match between a person's chronic regulatory focus and the overall valence of the message.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-443
Number of pages9
JournalMotivation and Emotion
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 28 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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