Motivational Influences on Attentional Scope

Abstract

The influence of motivation on attentional scope was investigated using two triad classification tasks. Both tasks allowed subjects to make holistic matches or analytic matches. One of two situational regulatory focus states (promotion, prevention) was induced in subjects before completion of the triad tasks. It was predicted that a promotion focus would engender a preference for holistic matches while a prevention focus would engender a preference for analytic matches. In the first experiment, promotion-focused subjects made more holistic matches than prevention-focused subjects. In the second experiment chronic regulatory focus was also measured, and subjects who experienced regulatory fit made more holistic matches than subjects who experienced regulatory mismatch, and situational regulatory focus alone did not significantly predict the proportion of holistic responses. These results suggest that both regulatory focus and regulatory fit states broaden attention, and that uncontrolled regulatory fit may be driving promotion focus effects.


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