Strategic Preferences and Regulatory

Although the studies presented thus far have demonstrated how people's motivational orientations can lead them to prefer and choose certain judgment strategies, situations may exist in which they may be more or less able to follow these preferences. For example, some situations may generally require greater use of eager strategies of pursuing gains or vigilant strategies of preventing mistakes such as when supervisors demand either innovative and creative practices of all their employees in search of advancement or cautious and responsible practices in hope of preventing losses. What might be the consequences of making judgments and decisions in a way that either suits one's current strategic preferences (i.e., promotion-focused individuals using eager strategies and prevention-focused individuals using vigilant strategies) or does not suit one's preferences (i.e., promotion-focused individuals using vigilant strategies and prevention-focused individuals using eager strategies)?

Higgins and colleagues have examined this question and investigated how the regulatory fit between one's motivational orientation and the means one uses during goal pursuit affects thinking and reasoning (e.g., Camacho et al., 2003; Freitas & Higgins 2002; Higgins, Idson, Freitas, Spiegel, & Molden, 2003). Although space limitations prohibit a more thorough review of this work here (see Higgins, 2000a; Higgins & Molden, 2003), the general findings have been that that the primary consequence of regulatory fit is to increase the perceived value of the goal one is pursuing. That is, regulatory fit (as compared with nonfit) leads people to "feel right" about their goal pursuit, which then leads them to (1) feel good while pursuing these goals (i.e., what feels right feels good; see Freitas & Higgins, 2 002); (2 ) experience the outcomes they are striving for as having more value or worth (i.e., what feels right is good; see Higgins et al., 2003); and (3) believe the strategies they are using are inherently right (i.e., what feels right is right; see Camacho et al., 2 003). Therefore, another avenue for future research on how people's motivations to use certain judgment strategies can affect their thought processes is the further refinement and elaboration of the process of regulatory fit.

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