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Loss Aversion and Regulatory Focus Effects in the Absence of Numbers: Qualitatively Framing Equivalent Messages on Food Labels
Unformatted Document Text:  QUALITATIVELY FRAMING EQUIVALENT MESSAGES ON FOOD LABELS evaluation with three components: cognitive, emotional, and behavioral (Ostrom, Bond, Krosnick, & Sedikides, 1994). Attitudes are not objective in nature (like preferences), and “are also susceptible to a lot of manipulations that are not allowed to have any effect in a rational theory of preferences” (Kahneman & Sugden, 2005, p. 165). Therefore, a framing effect should yield a change in attitude. In this study, attitudes were measured toward the product the framed claims were on and toward a seemingly identical product without the claims. The literature, therefore, suggests the following hypotheses: H1: When controlling for chronic regulatory focus, subjects exposed to nonloss-framed claims will have stronger positive attitudes toward the product with claims than those exposed to gain-framed labeling claims or control group claims. H2: When controlling for chronic regulatory focus, subjects exposed to nonloss-framed claims will have weaker positive attitudes toward the product without claims than those exposed to gain-framed labeling claims or control group claims. Methodology To test the hypotheses, a posttest-only, randomized experimental design was used with a convenience sample of 660 college students at the University of Florida. Cognitive psychologists argue that when examining cognitive mechanisms, like memory, attention, or biases, college students are an acceptable sample because they will maintain the same neural networks (Peterson, 2001). The nature of the study was to examine cognitive mechanisms (framing effects, loss aversion, and regulatory focus) that have shown prevalence in multiple nonstudent samples (Druckman, 2001) as well as student samples (Liberman et al., 2005). The experiment was carried out online using Qualtrics, a Web-based survey tool. Each subject was randomly assigned (using a random number generator) to one of two treatment groups with either gain- or nonloss- framed claims about animal welfare and environmental impact on chicken packaging, or the control group with general product claims (boneless, skinless chicken breasts with rib meat).

Authors: Abrams, Katie.
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evaluation with three components: cognitive, emotional, and behavioral (Ostrom, Bond, 
Krosnick, & Sedikides, 1994). Attitudes are not objective in nature (like preferences), and “are 
also susceptible to a lot of manipulations that are not allowed to have any effect in a rational 
theory of preferences” (Kahneman & Sugden, 2005, p. 165). Therefore, a framing effect should 
yield a change in attitude. In this study, attitudes were measured toward the product the framed 
claims were on and toward a seemingly identical product without the claims. 
The literature, therefore, suggests the following hypotheses: 
H1: When controlling for chronic regulatory focus, subjects exposed to nonloss-framed 
claims will have stronger positive attitudes toward the product with claims than those 
exposed to gain-framed labeling claims or control group claims.
H2: When controlling for chronic regulatory focus, subjects exposed to nonloss-framed 
claims will have weaker positive attitudes toward the product without claims than those 
exposed to gain-framed labeling claims or control group claims.
To test the hypotheses, a posttest-only, randomized experimental design was used with a 
convenience sample of 660 college students at the University of Florida. Cognitive psychologists 
argue that when examining cognitive mechanisms, like memory, attention, or biases, college 
students are an acceptable sample because they will maintain the same neural networks 
(Peterson, 2001). The nature of the study was to examine cognitive mechanisms (framing effects, 
loss aversion, and regulatory focus) that have shown prevalence in multiple nonstudent samples 
(Druckman, 2001) as well as student samples (Liberman et al., 2005). The experiment was 
carried out online using Qualtrics, a Web-based survey tool. Each subject was randomly assigned 
(using a random number generator) to one of two treatment groups with either gain- or nonloss-
framed claims about animal welfare and environmental impact on chicken packaging, or the 
control group with general product claims (boneless, skinless chicken breasts with rib meat). 

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