Outcome presence and regulatory fit: Competing explanations for the advantage of gains and losses over non-gains and non-losses

Sandra Praxmarer-Carus*, Stefan Wolkenstoerfer, Arie Dijkstra

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

2 Citaten (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


This research studies goal framing, which focuses on the communication of either the potential benefits associated with performing an action or the potential negative consequences of not doing so. Several studies report that messages presenting gains and losses are more persuasive than those presenting non-gains and non-losses. The literature has mostly explained this advantage with regulatory fit. This article notes that two theories can explain the advantage, namely, regulatory fit and feature positivity (outcome presence). However, the former explanation has received significantly more attention in the framing literature than the latter. We also explain that it is difficult to distinguish the two effects empirically because regulatory fit within the message and outcome presence coincide. Consequently, demonstrating an advantage of gains and losses over non-gains and non-losses, which many studies have, is not sufficient to support any of the effects. Previous studies have neither discussed the competing explanations nor tried to distinguish them. This article explains that the two theories make different predictions with regard to a moderator and the critical mediators. We use the different predictions to obtain more insights into the relevance of the competing explanations. This article conducts two experiments and studies the moderating effect of premessage regulatory focus and the mediating effects of processing fluency and outcome imagination. We conclude that the framing literature should devote more attention to outcome presence.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)310-327
Aantal pagina's18
TijdschriftJournal of Consumer Behaviour
Nummer van het tijdschrift2
Vroegere onlinedatum21-nov-2021
StatusPublished - mrt-2022

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