The “I” in us, or the eye on us? Regulatory focus, commitment and derogation of an attractive alternative person

Rodrigues, David; Lopes, Diniz and Kumashiro, Madoka. 2017. The “I” in us, or the eye on us? Regulatory focus, commitment and derogation of an attractive alternative person. PLoS ONE, 12(3), e0174350. ISSN 1932-6203 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

When individuals are highly committed to their romantic relationship, they are more likely to engage in pro-relationship maintenance mechanisms. The present research expanded on the notion that commitment redirects self-oriented goals to consider broader relational goals and examined whether commitment interacts with a promotion and prevention focus to activate derogation of attractive alternatives. Three studies used cross-sectional and experimental approaches. Study 1 showed that romantically involved individuals predominantly focused on promotion, but not prevention, reported less initial attraction to an attractive target than single individuals, especially when highly committed to their relationship. Study 2 showed that romantically involved individuals induced in a promotion focus, compared to those in prevention focus, reported less initial attraction, but only when more committed to their relationship. Regardless of regulatory focus manipulation, more committed individuals were also less likely to perceive quality among alternative scenarios and to be attentive to alternative others in general. Finally, Study 3 showed that romantically involved individuals induced in promotion focus and primed with high commitment reported less initial attraction, than those primed with low commitment, or than those induced in prevention focus. Once again, for these latter no differences occurred according to commitment prime. Together, the findings suggest that highly committed promotion focused individuals consider broader relationship goals and activate relationship maintenance behaviors such as derogation of attractive alternatives to promote their relationship.

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Data Availability Statement:
Data sets underlying the findings are available at Open Science Framework (doi:10.17605/OSF.IO/A68ET).

This research was funded by the grant SFRH/BPD/73528/2010, awarded by Fundac¸ão para a Ciência e a Tecnologia to DR. The funder had no role in study design, data collection and
analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

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17 March 2017Accepted
20 March 2017Published

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Date Deposited:

17 May 2017 14:40

Last Modified:

03 Aug 2021 15:04

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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