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Abstract

How can researchers and practitioners use regulatory fit theory to increase the effectiveness of their attempts to change attitudes and behavior? In this article, we extract from the literature a set of basic processes by which fit can influence persuasion and describe different methods for inducing fit. Regulatory fit can influence persuasion by: (i) making message recipients feel right during message reception; (ii) increasing recipients’ strength of engagement with the message, which contributes to processing fluency; and (iii) influencing elaboration likelihood. Integral methods induce fit within the persuasion situation (as with framing of message arguments, source delivery style, and decision means), whereas incidental methods induce fit independent of the persuasion situation. We discuss common difficulties researchers may encounter with these techniques, and clarify existing confusions about regulatory fit and regulatory focus theory. Throughout, we highlight important questions that must be addressed to attain a complete understanding of regulatory fit.