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Buying peudoscience: does regulatory focus have anything to do with it?

Faculty Advisor




pseudoscience, health, regulatory focus theory, consumer behaviour

Abstract (summary)

Pseudoscience is a claim, belief, or practice that is perceived as scientific, but does not meet the rigorous standard of scientific testing. Distinguishing pseudoscience from science can be difficult, especially with the influence of aggressive marketing tactics in the media that promote dubious health claims. This study examined the relationship between belief in pseudoscience and motivation using the framework of regulatory focus theory. Individuals who are promotion focused are motivated by advancement, accomplishment, and opportunities to grow; while others who are prevention focused are motivated by safety and security. Regulatory focus theory explains why some messages may be more persuasive than others. If a message has regulatory fit, it will elicit a more positive response. This two-part study explored the impact of regulatory focus on belief in pseudoscience. While previous research has explored the role of regulatory focus in a variety of different forms of persuasion, there has yet to be an investigation of regulatory focus on the acceptance of pseudoscience.

Publication Information


Item Type

Undergraduate Thesis




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