A promotion focus is concerned with advancement, growth, and accomplishment, whereas a prevention focus is concerned with security, safety, and responsibility. We hypothesized that the promotion focus inclination is to insure hits and insure against errors of omission, whereas the prevention focus inclination is to insure correct rejections and insure against errors of commission. This hypothesis yielded three predictions: (a) when individuals work on a difficult task or have just experienced failure, those in a promotion focus should perform better, and those in a prevention focus should quit more readily; (b) when individuals work on a task where generating any number of alternatives is correct, those in a promotion focus should generate more distinct alternatives, and those in a prevention focus should be more repetitive; and (c) when individuals work on a signal detection task that requires them to decide whether they did or did not detect a signal, those in a promotion focus should have a "risky" response bias, and those in a prevention focus should have a "conservative" response bias and take more time to respond. These predictions were supported in two framing studies in which regulatory focus was experimentally manipulated independent of valence.
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processesvol.
69, (February 01, 1997):