Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 39, Issue 6, pp 932–942 | Cite as

A regulatory focus perspective on reputational concerns: The impact of prevention-focused self-regulation

  • Stefan PfattheicherEmail author
Original Paper


The hyper-sociality found in the human species is unequivocally manifested in their special sensitivity about reputation. In the present contribution, individuals’ reputational concerns are examined from the perspective of one prominent motivational approach: regulatory focus theory. Specifically, individual differences in prevention and promotion focus are related to reputational concerns. Building on the assumption that prevention-focused individuals are sensitive to and concerned with oughts and social expectations, it is expected that prevention-focused individuals are particularly concerned regarding their reputation. In line with this assumption, Study 1 documents a positive relation between individual differences in prevention focus and reputational concerns (beyond the Big Five and perceived stress). In Study 2, individuals are exposed to a subtle reputation cue (i.e., stylized watching eyes). It is documented that prevention-focused individuals specifically react to this cue in that they donate more money when such a cue is present. This finding is replicated in an additional sample and shown to be independent of the Big Five. In sum, the present work contributes to a better understanding of basic motivational orientations regarding reputational concerns.


Prevention focus Regulatory focus Reputation Social presence Watching eyes 

Supplementary material

11031_2015_9501_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (63 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 62 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Abteilung SozialpsychologieUniversität UlmUlmGermany

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