Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Asking 'why' instead of 'how' helps consumers achieve goals of saving money or losing weight

Date:
May 19, 2010
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
People who become focused on how to achieve a goal may have a harder time achieving their aims than people who think abstractly about why they want to do something, according to a new study.

People who become focused on how to achieve a goal may have a harder time achieving their aims than people who think abstractly about why they want to do something, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

"Imagine a person who has a goal to save money. The person forms a plan to save money by purchasing fewer clothing items at the mall," write authors Julia Belyavsky Bayuk (University of Delaware), Chris Janiszewski, and Robyn LeBoeuf (both University of Florida). "We investigate how this plan influences the person's response to other money-saving opportunities. For example, would the person be more likely to order a cheaper meal at a restaurant, avoid making an impulse purchase, or combine errands to save money on gas?"

The authors found that when people focus on concrete aspects of how they want to achieve goals, they become more closed-minded and less likely to take advantage of opportunities that fall outside their plans. And, in contrast, people who focus on the why are more likely to consider out-of-plan opportunities to achieve their goals.

The authors conducted four experiments to examine consumer behavior when it came to the goal of saving money. In one study, people were asked to list a specific plan to save money, whereas others were not asked to plan. Then some people were asked to focus on why they wanted to save money. Subsequently, all participants were given the opportunity to buy candy.

Consumers who were thinking concretely and formed a specific plan were less able to avoid the candy purchase then those who had not formed a plan. However, among the abstract thinkers, those who had formed a plan were better able to avoid the candy purchase.

"Planning is more effective when people think abstractly, keep an open mind, and remind themselves of why they want to achieve a goal," the authors write. "This strategy is especially effective when the plan turns out to be infeasible (cheaper restaurant is too far away, gym is closed today for a holiday) or when other goal-directed activities become available (walk instead of taking a cab, eat a healthier meal)."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Julia Belyavsky Bayuk, Chris Janiszewski, and Robyn LeBoeuf. Letting Good Opportunities Pass Us By: Examining the Role of Mindset during Goal Pursuit. Journal of Consumer Research, December 2010

Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "Asking 'why' instead of 'how' helps consumers achieve goals of saving money or losing weight." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100518113136.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2010, May 19). Asking 'why' instead of 'how' helps consumers achieve goals of saving money or losing weight. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100518113136.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "Asking 'why' instead of 'how' helps consumers achieve goals of saving money or losing weight." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100518113136.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) More and more studies are showing positive benefits to playing video games, but the jury is still out on brain training programs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) Research from Washington University suggest people with conscientious spouses have greater career success. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) Researchers say certain markers in the blood can predict risk of psychosis later in the life. The test can aid in early treatment for the condition. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Harpist Soothes Gorillas, Orangutans With Music

Harpist Soothes Gorillas, Orangutans With Music

AP (Sep. 25, 2014) Teri Tacheny, a harpist, has a loyal following of fans who appreciate her soothing music. Every month, gorillas, orangutans and monkeys amble down to hear her play at the Como Park Zoo in Minnesota. (Sept. 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins