Focus–target fit effect: Exploring the mechanism of construal level variation in decision making

Jing Liu1, Lin Wu1
1School of Sociology, Wuhan University, People’s Republic of China
Cite this article:  Liu, J., & Wu, L. (2019). Focus–target fit effect: Exploring the mechanism of construal level variation in decision making. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 47(10), e8390.

Volume 47 Issue 10 | e8390 | Published: October 2019 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.8390

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We used the concept of focus–target fit (FTF) and nonfit states to examine a possible link between individuals’ regulatory focus type and decision target, which may influence their construal level and result in different decision-making strategies. In Experiment 1, we speculated that a participant’s construal level in an FTF (vs. nonfit) state would be comparatively lower. The FTF effect phenomenon was found, as expected. In Experiments 2 and 3 we included affective state as another factor for further examination of the combined influence over participants’ construal level. We observed that the influence of the FTF effect was covered up by that of the affective state. Our findings have filled the theoretical gap between self-regulation and information processing level, and offer an in-depth explanation of how individuals’ affect influences their method of decision making.

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