It's the Mind-Set That Matters: The Role of Construal Level and Message Framing in Influencing Consumer Efficacy and Conservation Behaviors

By Katherine WhiteRhiannon MacDonnellDarren W. Dahl
Journal of Marketing Research
June2011 Vol. 48 Issue 3 Pages 472–485.

Across three studies, this research elucidates when loss- versus gain-framed messages are most effective in influencing consumer recycling by examining the moderating role of whether a more concrete or abstract mind-set is activated. First, in a field study, the authors demonstrate that loss frames are more efficacious when paired with low-level, concrete mind-sets, whereas gain frames are more effective when paired with high-level, abstract mind-sets. This is an important, substantive finding that persisted over a significant time span. In addition, in two additional laboratory studies, they find further evidence for this matching hypothesis, in which a pairing of loss- (gain-) framed messages that activates more concrete (abstract) mind-sets leads to enhanced processing fluency, increased efficacy, and, as a result, more positive recycling intentions. The findings have implications for marketers, consumers, and society as a whole.