E. Tory Higgins

E. Tory Higgins
Columbia University | CU · Department of Psychology

PhD Psychology Columbia University

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481
Publications
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Publications

Publications (481)
Article
Full-text available
Variety-seeking research has examined antecedents in terms of contextual factors and individual differences. However, it does not consider the interaction of individual difference factors such as regulatory focus (promotion vs. prevention) and regulatory mode (locomotion vs. assessment) to predict variety-seeking. Drawing on regulatory fit theory,...
Article
Our study explores how communicating with audiences who hold opposite opinions about a target person can lead to a biased recall of the target's behaviors depending on whom a shared reality is created with. By extending the standard “saying-is-believing” paradigm to the case of two audiences with opposite attitudes toward a target person, we found...
Article
Full-text available
When a person faces a stressor alongside someone else, do they get more or less stressed when the other person agrees that the situation is stressful? While an equally stressed partner could plausibly amplify stress by making the situation seem more real and worthy of distress, we find that social validation during co-experienced stressors reduces...
Preprint
Does a focus on gains versus non-losses influence the kinds of activities people are motivated to use when pursuing their goals? This paper proposes that the prevention and promotion systems posited within regulatory focus theory motivate fundamentally different activities in the process of goal pursuit. We present a novel, integrative framework of...
Article
Full-text available
Humans are fundamentally motivated to create a sense of shared reality—the perceived commonality of inner states (feeling, beliefs, and concerns about the world) with other people. This shared reality establishes a sense of both social connection and understanding the world. Research on shared reality has burgeoned in recent decades. We first revie...
Article
We propose that cleansing behaviors and other acts of separation or connection have more powerful effects when they are grounded in shared practices – in a shared reality. We conceptualize sensorimotor and shared reality effects as synergistic. Most potent should be physical behaviors performed collectively as a shared practice (e.g., communal bath...
Article
Full-text available
Moral psychology is used to explore the interaction between regulatory mode (locomotion; assessment) and diurnal preference (“early birds”; “night owls”). Moral and immoral behavior was partly explained by an interaction between regulatory mode and the time of day the task took place. In Studies 1a and 1b, we established a relation between self-rep...
Article
When people make decisions, they want the outcomes of their choice to be as positive as possible. But they also want the decision-making process itself to be conducted in the right way. Though this is often described as making decisions that are moral or ethical, it also includes making decisions that are appropriate—that are suitable and fitting....
Article
How do individual differences in motivation relate to risky decision-making? The objective of the present study was to explore this question within a real-world situation in which participants invested in Bitcoin, a risky asset. The article focuses on cases of a socially-defined counterfactual loss—situations in which the people in one's social con...
Article
Many everyday conversations, whether between close partners or strangers interacting for the first time, are about the world external to their relationship, such as music, food, or current events. Yet, the focus of most research on interpersonal relationships to date has been on the ways in which partners perceive each other and their relationship....
Article
Shared reality and abstraction: The social nature of predictive models—ERRATUM - Volume 43 - Maya Rossignac-Milon, Federica Pinelli, E. Tory Higgins
Article
We propose that abstraction is an interpersonal process and serves a social function. Research on shared reality shows that in communication, people raise their level of abstraction in order to create a common understanding with their communication partner, which can subsequently distort their mental representation of the object of communication. T...
Preprint
Despite concerted efforts to enforce ethical standards, transgressions continue to plague US corporations. This paper investigates whether the way in which a corporation pursues its goals can influence ethical violations, manifested as involvement in discrimination. We test this hypothesis among franchises, which employ a considerable amount of low...
Preprint
This brief report explores developmental changes in motivation by adapting, for a sample of children spanning the ages of 4 to 17, measures of well-established motivational concerns, such as regulatory mode and regulatory focus concerns. The paper leverages a recently proposed developmental model of shared reality to interpret our results (Higgins,...
Article
Full-text available
Receiving social support can entail both costs and benefits for recipients. Thus, theories of effective support have proposed that support should address recipients' needs to be beneficial. This paper proposes the importance of support that addresses recipients' self-regulatory needs. We present a novel construct-regulatory effectiveness of support...
Article
Full-text available
This article reviews the current state of the regulatory focus literature as it relates to consumer behavior, with a special emphasis on the goal pursuit processes that natu‐ rally align with the promotion and prevention systems. Because most research on such processes has taken place within the framework of regulatory fit theory, we highlight regu...
Article
Regulatory focus theory distinguishes between two different value concerns: promotion concerns with advancement and growth, and prevention concerns with safety and security. Since its publication more than 20 years ago, regulatory focus theory has generated a substantial amount of research and it has been applied to numerous organizational contexts...
Article
Regulatory fit theory predicts that matching a message to individuals' motivational orientation feels right, thereby enhancing fairness perceptions. In two studies we tested whether, through fairness perceptions, regulatory fit relates to greater openness to change, especially when that change has negative consequences for its recipients. Study 1 w...
Article
Full-text available
Recent research in moral psychology has highlighted how the current internal states of observers can influence their moral judgments of others’ actions. In this article, we argue that an important internal state that serves such a function is the sense of control one has over one’s own actions. Across four studies, we show that an individual’s own...
Article
This article utilizes a motivational perspective on emotions to reconceptualize the impact of negative emotions on relationship dynamics between alliance partners. Alliance failure is endemic and yet we know little about how alliance partners manage the interface between them. We draw upon the alliance discrepancy model, self-discrepancy theory, ap...
Article
In times of widespread science skepticism, it is important to understand when and how lay people draw on experts’ opinions to form judgments. We examined whether participants are more likely to create a shared reality with a communication partner having high epistemic authority than with audiences having lower epistemic authority. In Experiment 1,...
Preprint
Full-text available
Humans are profoundly motivated to create with others shared realities about the world—shared relevance, shared feelings, shared judgments. This motivation includes a special kind of motivated connection to others (i.e., sharing the truth about the world with others as our significant others, fellow community members, teammates, and companions), an...
Article
Full-text available
Many researchers in moral psychology approach the topic of moral judgment in terms of value—assessing outcomes of behaviors as either harmful or helpful, which makes the behaviors wrong or right, respectively. However, recent advances in motivation science suggest that other motives may be at work as well—namely truth (wanting to establish what is...
Article
Full-text available
We investigated whether group influence can change judgments even for high-consensus (i.e., unambiguous) moral norms. We found that participants often matched the judgment of the other current group members even when this moral judgment was normatively incorrect (nonstandard), and this occurred more for more ambiguous issues. Moreover, this social...
Article
Full-text available
Despite concerted efforts to enforce ethical standards, transgressions continue to plague US corporations. This paper investigates whether the way in which an organization pursues its goals can influence ethical violations, manifested as involvement in discrimination. We test this hypothesis among franchises, which employ a considerable amount of l...
Preprint
Full-text available
Receiving social support can entail both costs and benefits for recipients. Thus, theories of effective support have proposed that support should address recipients’ needs in order to be beneficial. This paper proposes the importance of support that addresses recipients’ self-regulatory needs. We present a novel construct—Regulatory Effectiveness o...
Article
Full-text available
When and why do people choose a more or a less risky option? To answer this question, we propose that it is essential to examine the dynamic interrelations among three factors-the decision maker's goal (e.g., promotion vs. prevention goal), the current value state (e.g., the domain of gains vs. losses), and the choice set (i.e., perceived available...
Chapter
We all know that “seeing is believing.” Only physical evidence is truly convincing to us. But consider the following. When constructing a message for their audience, communicators tailor the information they have about something, like another person’s behaviors, so that their message matches the attitude of their audience toward that target person—...
Chapter
“I know it when I see it.” That’s what we think. But mostly we know what our shared realities have taught us, and tell us, to know. Not only do we learn from others the names for things in the world, we learn the names for traits to characterize people. We learn which traits are relevant and relevance makes these traits salient and accessible. This...
Chapter
The changes in shared reality that happen while human children develop are fascinating. Beginning in infancy, children pass through different phases of development when new modes of sharing reality emerge that change how they relate to others around them. Each new shared reality mode changes the lives of children, as well as those lucky enough to b...
Chapter
Human evolution has been described as the development of our special intelligence. From Homo erectus, we evolved into Homo sapiens (archaic sapien) around 200,000 years ago, then into Homo sapiens sapiens (modern sapien) around 30,000 to 50,000 years ago—human beings becoming “wise” (sapiens) and then “the wisest of the wise” (sapiens sapiens). But...
Chapter
The current conflicts happening around the world between people with different political views are very disturbing. They illustrate the trade-offs from shared reality that are described in this book. Each political group is stronger from its shared feelings, beliefs, and opinions. But the differences between these shared realities are tearing us ap...
Chapter
It doesn’t take much of a difference between groups to make in-group–out-group discrimination occur. High schoolers can discriminate on the basis of preference for the paintings of Klee versus Kandinsky. Third-grade children can discriminate on the basis of eye color. The two social identification mechanisms that contribute to discrimination relate...
Book
What makes us human? Why do humans deal with the world in the ways that we do? The usual answer is that it is our intelligence. When it comes to intelligence, we believe we are special. When it comes to motivation, we believe we are basically the same as other animals. But human motivation is also special. This book describes why human motivation i...
Chapter
Humans want our attitudes and opinions to be shared realities with others and prefer to interact with others who share them. To create shared realities, we are also open to learning from others and being influenced by others about what our attitudes and opinions should be. And, once we have created these shared realities, we treat them as if they w...
Chapter
Much of our lives is spent experiencing our journey in pursuit of goals. Indeed, it can be argued that how we strive is our life. And, just as what we strive for involves shared realities with others, how we strive also involves shared realities with others. We learn from others what are the appropriate ways to pursue particular goals, just as todd...
Chapter
Of all the objects you know and have beliefs about, you are the object you pay most attention to and want to know best. And, when it comes to sharing beliefs and opinions about the world with others, you are the object in the world that you most want your significant others to share your beliefs and opinions about who you are. How do individuals le...
Chapter
Before you emotionally react to, or evaluate, something, you need to pay attention to it. It needs to matter. Beginning with infants’ interactions with their caretakers, humans create shared realities with each other about what matters, what is relevant and irrelevant. It is basic to how humans connect to one another, to how they become a member of...
Chapter
Humans recognize that their significant others want and expect them to be and to become a certain kind of person, and they accept these goals and standards in their own self-regulation (internalization). This is a critical and central aspect of the shared reality motivation that makes humans special motivationally, and “special” in this case means...
Article
Approach motivation (striving for desired end-states, eagerly focusing on where one wants to be) is often held up as the best type of motivation: It feels good and is associated with many positive outcomes. Indeed, a common perception is that regulation in terms of approach motivation is almost always better than regulation in terms of avoidance mo...
Article
Full-text available
We have argued for a balanced perspective on the relative benefits and costs of approach and avoidance motivation, and that thinking hierarchically about these motives contributes to a better understanding of goal pursuit. Having received several scholarly commentaries on these primary claims, in this reply, we further clarify the roles of regulato...
Poster
Full-text available
Two fundamental motives are theorized to drive the process of goal pursuit: Truth motivation prompts people to establish where they are headed, and control motivation drives them to take action. However, it is unclear how these motives might vary based on whether the desired destination is a prevention versus promotion goal. As a result, we sought...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose This paper aims to investigates the effect of normative expectations in the purchase process on consumers’ value perceptions for prosocial products (e.g. environmentally friendly products) relative to conventional non-prosocial products. It extends the literature on both prosocial products and regulatory fit. Design/methodology/approach Fi...
Article
Foraging is a goal-directed behavior that balances the need to explore the environment for resources with the need to exploit those resources. In Drosophila melanogaster , distinct phenotypes have been observed in relation to the foraging gene ( for ), labeled the rover and sitter. Adult rovers explore their environs more extensively than do adult...
Article
Prior research has shown that the combination of assessment and locomotion regulatory modes leads to the best performance-related outcomes. The aim of the current study was to analyse how familiarity and complexity moderate this relationship between the two regulatory modes and job performance. Participants’ locomotion and assessment tendencies wer...
Article
Full-text available
When patients have strong initial attitudes about a medical intervention, they might not be open to learning new information when choosing whether or not to receive the intervention. We aim to show that non-fit messaging (messages framed in a manner that is incongruent with recipients’ motivational orientation) can increase attention to the message...
Data
Materials & measures. (DOCX)
Data
Time participants spend reading pros and cons. (TIF)
Data
Processing of pros and cons and choice. (DOCX)
Article
Full-text available
This article addresses the timely subject of the reactions toward a Sunday trade ban in Poland. The law introduced in March 2018 created a division among service employees: (1) those who used to work on Sundays before the law and now enjoy work-free Sundays, and (2) those who used to work and still have to work on Sundays. Although the objective ci...
Article
Full-text available
To provide background for the Special Issue on shared reality, we outline the construct of shared reality and underlying mechanisms. Shared reality is the experience of having in common with others inner states about the world. Inner states include the perceived relevance of something, as well as feelings, beliefs, or evaluations of something. The...
Article
Full-text available
Patients engaging in shared decision making must weigh the likelihood of positive and negative outcomes and deal with uncertainty and negative emotions in the situations where desirable options might not be available. The use of “nudges,” or communication techniques that influence patients’ choices in a predictable direction, may assist patients in...
Article
Although identifying cues indicating a problem represents a crucial aspect of team adaptation, little is known about the conditions under which team members do this correctly. To address this issue, the current study focused on the motivational basis of cue identification by investigating interactive effects of members’ regulatory focus, their cont...
Article
Full-text available
In general, people prefer to view themselves positively. But some individuals are more prone to self-flattery than others, that is, holding an unjustifiably high opinion of oneself. Applying regulatory mode theory, we identify motivational factors that predict which individuals are and are not prone to self-flattery. In four studies, using both chr...
Article
Male entrepreneurs are known to raise higher levels of funding than their female counterparts, but the underlying mechanism for this funding disparity remains contested. Drawing upon Regulatory Focus Theory, we propose that the gap originates with a gender bias in the questions that investors pose to entrepreneurs. A field study conducted on questi...
Article
Despite concerted efforts to enforce ethical standards, transgressions continue to plague US corporations. This paper investigates whether the way in which an organization pursues its goals can influence ethical violations, manifested as involvement in discrimination. We test this hypothesis among franchises, which employ a considerable amount of l...
Article
We agree with Gal and Rucker (2018 – this issue) that loss aversion is not as firmly established as typically assumed. We affirm, however, the more general principle put forward within Prospect Theory (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979), which is that reference points increase people's sensitivity to objective changes in value. We show how the literatures o...
Article
Full-text available
The present research addresses the question of whether regulatory-mode orientations affect self-forgiveness. We expected that people with a strong locomotion orientation would be more inclined to self-forgiveness because of their tendencies toward movement and change, which focus them on the future, whereas people with a strong assessment orientati...
Article
For almost forty years gun ownership and the motivational underpinnings of why guns are valued has received little attention in psychology. Using motivation science tools that explain value creation (regulatory focus and regulatory fit), we tested for fit between the prevention orientation and gun ownership. Our field experiments demonstrate fit be...
Article
Our research posits that decision-making is particularly distressing for individuals with high assessment tendencies. Assessment involves truth concerns about making the “right” decision. We hypothesize that people with high assessment experience greater distress during decision-making because of their concerns about making a wrong decision. In fou...
Chapter
Imagine yourself and your spouse on a holiday eve, at the eleventh hour sally to the local mall to get those missing items on your shopping list. You drive into the parking lot, which brims with hundreds of vehicles, and you look intently for a free spot. By an amazing stroke of luck, a car is about to pull out of a far row. Seizing the moment, you...
Article
Background: Negative attitudes toward hospice care might prevent patients with cancer from discussing and choosing hospice as they approach end of life. When making a decision, people often naturally focus on either expected benefits or avoidance of harm. Behavioral research demonstrated that framing information in an incongruent manner with patie...
Chapter
Full-text available
Locomotion mode is the aspect of self-regulation that is concerned with initiating goal-related movement and maintaining it without interruption in order to effect change, whereas assessment mode is the aspect of self-regulation that is concerned with critical evaluation of alternative goals and means in order to make the right choices. We propose...
Article
Full-text available
Social support can sometimes have negative consequences for recipients. One way of circumventing these negative effects is to provide support in an ‘invisible’ or indirect manner, such that recipients do not construe the behavior as a supportive act. However, little is known about how recipients’ motivational states influence when visible (direct)...
Article
Full-text available
Regulatory fit theory predicts that when individuals adopt strategies that sustain their motivational orientations, they feel right about what is happening. Our aim was to test these predictions at the person-organization level. Across three studies, we expected and found that a feeling right experience that results from a match between an employee...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter argues that the human essence can be understood as the functioning of three fundamental motives working together—value, control, and truth. It shows that each of these motives represents an independent source of goal pursuit, and that each, in its fulfillment, represents a unique factor in the achievement of well-being. It also argues...
Chapter
Full-text available
When considering our future, a crucial factor in our decision making is the motivation underlying our choices. Psychologists have investigated mechanisms that influence the degree to which any given individual will prefer one possible option over alternative options. In this chapter, we note how a particular theory of motivation, regulatory focus t...
Article
This research shows that the strength of assessment orientation, defined as the “aspect of self-regulation concerned with critically evaluating entities or states,” increases a person’s sensitivity to the size of a missed opportunity. Study 1 revealed that the experimental induction of an assessment orientation reduced the likelihood to act on a pr...
Article
Full-text available
Communicators typically tune messages to their audience’s attitude. Such audience tuning biases communicators’ memory for the topic toward the audience’s attitude to the extent that they create a shared reality with the audience. To investigate shared reality in intergroup communication, we first established that a reduced memory bias after tuning...
Article
This article introduces the special issue of the journal Motivation Science . Motivational Science was founded on the assumption that the topic of motivation is of major importance to various disciplines in the social and life sciences, as well as in the humanities. The present set of papers, based on an interdisciplinary symposium on motivation he...
Article
Full-text available
We propose that evaluating a life as meaningful or significant is the outgrowth of a critical human motivation—the motivation to have others verify that what is going on in one’s life, others’ lives, and the world really matters and makes sense. A meaningful life is one that is judged to be “going in the right direction,” with a current life trajec...
Article
Physical movement is an important contextual factor during customer's decision-making. Yet, little is known about how movement can affect customer's response to mobile promotions, or how it can influence the search and evaluation of products in a retail setting. Across three studies, this research shows that physical movement improves the perceived...