I propose that how the hedonic principle operates might be as important in motivation as the fact that it does operate. Specifically, I describe in this paper two different ways in which the hedonic principle operates—with a promotion focus verses a prevention focus. Evidence is presented that these different ways of regulating pleasure and pain, called regulatory focus, have a major impact on people's feelings, thoughts, and actions that is independent of the hedonic principle per se. Before describing regulatory focus as a motivational principle, however, some background information about another regulatory variable, regulatory reference, must be considered.
Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Volume 30, edited by
Academic Press, 1998.