Regulatory Focus Strength (RFS)

Author of Tool: 

Higgins, E. T.

Key references: 

Higgins, E. T., Shah, J., & Friedman, R. (1997). Emotional responses to goal attainment: Strength of regulatory focus as moderator. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72, 515-525

Primary use / Purpose: 

Measures strength of regulatory focus in relation to strength of emotional responses to goal attainment.

Background: 

Psychologists have recognized for a long time that a major determinant of the perceived value of an event is the extent to which it fulfills the perceiver's goals. Psychologists have also recognized that emotional responses to goal attainment include emotional responses to whether one's perceived actual self is congruent with or discrepant from one's desired self. When individuals' represented actual self fulfills their goals about who they would ideally like to be or believe they ought to be, they feel good. When it does not, they feel bad (e.g., Cooley, 1902/ 1964; James, 189011948; Rogers, 1961; Stein & Jewett, 1982; for a review, see Higgins, 1987). Goals with a promotion focus versus a prevention focus are distinguished. Chronic ideal goals (hopes and aspirations) have a promotion focus, whereas ought goals (duties and responsibilities) have a prevention focus. The strength of the relationship between goal attainment and feeling good or bad varies. The Regulatory Focus Strength (RFS) computer questionnaire an idiographic measure that asked participants to list attributes describing different self-representations from their own standpoint.

Psychometrics: 

For information on reliability and validity, see article: Higgins, E. T., Shah, J., & Friedman, R. (1997). Emotional responses to goal attainment: Strength of regulatory focus as moderator. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72, 515-525.

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