Motivational compatibility and the role of anticipated feelings in positively valenced persuasive message framing

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Abstract

Previous research on message framing has focused on the effect of overall valence on persuasion, since most studies compare positively versus negatively valenced frames that are anchored by the same end-state. Unlike previous studies, this paper investigates the role of end-states, or outcome focus, in message framing by using two positively valenced, factually equivalent message frames that are anchored by opposing end-states: the presence of gain (P/G) frame versus the absence of loss (A/L) frame. It is proposed that anticipated feelings and persuasion are greater when the end-state of the message frame is motivationally compatible with a consumer's regulatory focus, either chronic or situational. The major hypothesis is that the P/G frame leads to the anticipation of more intense positive feelings and subsequently produces greater persuasion when promotion focus versus prevention focus is salient, whereas the opposite holds for the A/L frame. Furthermore, it is proposed that the effect of motivational compatibility on persuasion is mediated by the anticipation of positive feelings. These hypotheses are generally supported in two experiments. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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