Regulatory Fit as Input for Stop Rules

Leigh Ann Vaughn, Ithaca College
Jill Malik
Sandra Schwartz
Zhivka Petkova
Lindsay Trudeau

Abstract

Three experiments show that the motivational effects of regulatory fit (consistency between regulatory state and strategic means) are context dependent. With no explicit decision rule about when to stop (Experiment 1) or an explicit enjoyment stop rule (Experiments 2 and 3), participants exerted more effort on tasks when experiencing regulatory fit than when experiencing regulatory nonfit. With an explicit sufficiency stop rule (Experiments 2 and 3), participants exerted less effort when experiencing regulatory fit than when experiencing regulatory nonfit. The interactive effect of regulatory fit and stop rules can be explained by misattribution of rightness feelings from regulatory fit; the effect was eliminated by drawing participants' attention to an earlier event as a source of rightness feelings (Experiments 1 and 3).