Ideals and Oughts and the Reliance of Affect Versus Substance in Persuasion
Posted: 17 Aug 2012
Date Written: 2004
Motivation research distinguishes two types of goals: (a) ideals, which relate to people’s hopes, wishes, and aspirations, and (b) oughts, which relate to people’s duties, obligations, and responsibilities. We propose that, in persuasion, the accessibility of ideals increases consumers’ reliance on their subjective affective responses to the ad relative to the substance of the message, whereas the accessibility of oughts increases consumers’ reliance on the substance of the message relative to their subjective affective responses. This phenomenon is accompanied by a relative change in the perceived diagnosticity of the two types of information under accessible ideals versus oughts — a change that can be related to the distinct modes of self-regulation that ideals and oughts trigger. The phenomenon appears to be unrelated to the kind of change in depth-of-processing posited by the Elaboration Likelihood Model and the Heuristic-Systematic Model.
Keywords: regulatory focus, promotion, prevention, affect
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