Imagining how you'd feel: The role of motivational experiences from regulatory fit

Lorraine Chen Idson, Nira Liberman, E. Tory Higgins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The authors propose that how people imagine they would feel about making a choice is affected not only by the outcome's anticipated pleasure or pain but also by regulatory fit. Regulatory fit occurs when people pursue a goal in a manner that sustains their regulatory state and it intensifies the motivation to pursue that goal. Considering positive outcomes fits a promotion focus more than a prevention focus, where as the reverse is true for negative outcomes. Thus, it is proposed that anticipating a desirable choice is more intensely positive for promotion than prevention, andanticipating an undesirable choice is more intensely negative for prevention than promotion. The results of three studies support these predictions. Studies 2 and 3 also demonstrate that motivational intensity under lies the stronger responses. Thus, to understand fully what it means to feel good or bad about a prospective choice, motivational experiences from regulatory fit must be considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)926-937
Number of pages12
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2004


  • Decision making
  • Motivational intensity
  • Pleasure and pain
  • Prospective feelings
  • Regulatory fit


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