Matching the graphical display of data to avoidance vs. approach motivation increases outcome expectancies

J.H. Frost, J. Braverman

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

This study is the first demonstration of the effect of motivational focus (approach vs. avoidance) on the interpretation of graphical view of personal data, specifically, weight loss progress. In two experiments, participants were randomly assigned to see the bogus weight loss data charted against either a goal or a baseline reference line. In the first experiment, we accessed participants' chronic motivational focus. In the second study, we primed motivation by exposing the participants to either a gain- or loss-focused health message. The results demonstrate that participants with either chronic or manipulated approach motivation predicted higher future weight loss in the goal reference line condition than in the baseline reference line condition. The opposite pattern was observed for participants with either chronic or manipulated avoidance motivation. The potential of matching graphical data display to personality characteristics to promote effective health management is discussed. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-245
Number of pages17
JournalThe Journal of Social Psychology
Volume152
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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