Effects of Regulatory Mode on Order Effects in Health Information Processing

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The present research examined the influence of individuals’ motivational tendencies, specifically, regulatory mode (Kruglanski et al., 2000), on information processing and the presence of order effects when recalling a given set of information (i.e. primacy/ recency effects, Murdock, 1962). Three studies investigated the effects of regulatory mode on attention and order effects using a free recall paradigm with both general and health information. Mediating variables included attention measured using eye tracking methods (Study 1) and willingness to search memory measured in time spent retrieving items for each list (Studies 1 & 2). Situational effects were also considered (Study 3, the moderating role of treatment information severity). The results generally did not support the hypotheses related to regulatory mode and order effects. Potential explanations, including considerations for theory and/or study design are discussed along with implications for future research directions.