Theses Doctoral

Using Non-Fit Messages to De-Intensify Reactions to Threatening Advice

Fridman, Ilona

Sometimes experts need to provide potentially upsetting advice. For example, physicians may recommend hospice for a terminally ill patient because it best meets their needs, but the patient and their family dislike this advised option. The present research examines whether regulatory non-fit could be used to improve these types of situations. The findings from eight studies in which participants imagined receiving upsetting advice from a physician demonstrate that regulatory non-fit between the form of the physician’s advice (emphasizing gains vs. avoiding losses) and the participants’ motivational orientation (promotion vs. prevention) improves participants’ evaluation of an initially disliked option. Regulatory non-fit de-intensifies participants’ initial attitudes by making them less confident in their initial judgments and motivating them to think more thoroughly about the arguments presented. Furthermore, consistent with previous research on regulatory fit, the studies show that the mechanism of regulatory non-fit differs as a function of participants’ involvement in the evaluation of the option.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Higgins, E. Tory
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
September 15, 2017