Regulatory focus theory deals with how people engage in self-regulation and distinguishes two ways of regulating pleasure and pain: a chronic regulatory promotion and a chronic regulatory prevention focus. Previous research has documented that the way a task is phrased can influence a person's motivation and performance on this task according to his or her chronic regulatory focus. Individuals experience regulatory fit-normally associated with a performance increase-when given instructions match their chronic regulatory focus. When the instructions do not match their chronic focus, individuals experience a nonfit-usually associated with a performance decrease. In two field studies, we investigated whether manipulating regulatory fit by varying the exact task phrasing is effective or if it bears the risk of participants rephrasing instructions according to their individual chronic regulatory focus while completing a certain task. In both studies, more than half of the participants in a nonfit condition rephrased given instructions for themselves according to their chronic regulatory focus. Analyses revealed that the fit between the chronic focus and rephrased instructions was associated with better performances, and also that the relationship of the chronic focus and rephrased instructions (consistent or not) was the best predictor of performances. That is, the findings support the concept of regulatory fit and its implications for performance, but they also indicate that handling of instructions in science and sport have to be controlled.
Fachgebiete und Schlagwörter
- Regulatory fit