The feeling of regulatory fit is thought to arise from the right kind of goal pursuit, but some studies imply that it may be evoked even by lesser involvement in the right kind of strategies. The present experiment explored the minimum of involvement necessary to evoke regulatory fit. Participants (N = 71) first completed a regulatory focus manipulation task and were then led to believe that they would receive either rich or accurate information concerning vegetable sterols, evoking beliefs that they used eager or vigilant information search strategies. In reality, all participants received the same information. Participants in promotion focus reported more positive attitudes in the rich information condition, whereas prevention-focused participants reported more positive attitudes in the accurate information condition. The results showed that regulatory fit can be evoked through mere thought, without actual goal pursuit and even without engagement in the goal pursuit strategies.
Leikas, S., Lindeman, M., Roininen, K., & Lähteenmäki, L. (2009). Boundaries of regulatory fit: Is it the thought that counts? Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 31(4), 289-294. https://doi.org/10.1080/01973530903316757