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Your personality type influences how much self-control you have
Date:1/23/2008

A new study from Northwestern introduces personality types used frequently in consumer research to the realm of self-improvement. People are motivated by one of two fundamental needs: they are either promotion-focused, seeking products that will help them achieve hopes and aspirations, or they are prevention-focused, seeking items that help achieve a need for safety and security. According to the research, people are better able to exercise self-control when they choose goal-pursuit strategies such as diets or money management that fit with their promotion or prevention focus.

This research has important implications for consumer welfare, explain Jiewen Hong and Angela Y. Lee (both of Northwestern University) in the February issue of the Journal of Consumer Research. While self-help remedies are saturating the market, resisting temptations remains a strenuous process and a constant struggle for many people. The data reported in this research offer an important step toward understanding self-control and highlight the benefits of adopting the right goal pursuit strategies.

Given their concern for growth and accomplishments, promotion-focused individuals experience fit when they adopt strategies that strive toward gains. They experience nonfit when they adopt vigilance strategies that guard against losses, the researchers explain. In contrast, prevention-focused individuals experience fit when they adopt vigilance strategies to address their concern for safety and security.

In the study, adoption of strategies that fit was reflected in having promotion- or prevention-focused individuals list either how they anticipated they would achieve their aspiration (i.e., What are some things you can do to make sure everything goes right") or how they would fulfill their obligation (i.e., What are some of the things you can do to avoid anything that could go wrong")

In one study, participants who had filled out the questionnaire were
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Contact: Suzanne Wu
swu@press.uchicago.edu
209-608-2038
University of Chicago Press Journals
Source:Eurekalert

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