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Expectancy × Value Effects: Regulatory Focus as Determinant of Magnitude and Direction

By James Shah and E. Tory Higgins


The authors propose that a promotion focus involves construal of achievement goals as aspirations whose attainment brings accomplishment. Commitment to these accomplishment goals is characterized by attempts to attain the highest expected utility. In contrast, a prevention focus involves construal of achievement goals as responsibilities whose attainment brings security. Commitment to these security goals is characterized by doing what is necessary. The different nature of commitment to accomplishment goals versus security goals is predicted to influence the interactive effect of goal expectancy and goal value on goal commitment, as evident in both task performance and decision making. Four studies found that the classic positive interactive effect of expectancy and value on goal commitment increases with a promotion focus and decreases with a prevention focus. What factors influence our tendency to accept goals and work toward attaining them? Evidence from different areas of psychology, including research on animal learning, goal setting, decision making, and achievement behavior, have converged to suggest that estimations of attainment value and attainment expectancy influence goal commitment. Although there is evidence that these estimations are not completely independent, especially in achievement situations (see Child, 1946; Croizer, 1979; Filer, 1952; Irwin, 1953; Teevan, Burdick, & Stoddard, 1976), expectancy-value models of motivation have traditionally assumed that both expectancy and value are required for goal commitment and that they combine multiplicatively (Lewin, Dembo

Year: 2013
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