The current study utilized regulatory focus theory to explain how online deliberations are processed differently depending on a participant's information processing style and the characteristics of a discussion topic. An experiment was conducted to investigate the relationship between informational characteristics (hedonic vs. utilitarian) and attitude change toward information, as well as the moderating effect of regulatory focus (promotion vs. prevention). Results from 207 students indicated that promotion-focused participants were more likely to change their attitude toward information than prevention-focused participants during online deliberations. Furthermore, when presented with hedonic information, attitude changes toward information were stronger for promotion-focused participants as compared to prevention-focused participants. However, when presented with utilitarian information, attitude changes were stronger for prevention-focused participants. The present findings enable researchers and practitioners to understand the interactive influence of informational characteristics and regulatory foci of participants during online deliberations, as well as influence participants' biased information processing. (c) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.