Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Getting healthy: When does prediction help people change their habits?

Date:
March 17, 2011
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
If you ask people how much they plan to exercise, they'll exercise more -- but only if that's a personal goal, according to a new study.

If you ask people how much they plan to exercise, they'll exercise more -- but only if that's a personal goal, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Related Articles


"When people have set for themselves targets about how much they should engage in a behavior (say, if the behavior is how much to exercise per week), asking them to predict whether they will exercise in the next week makes them think about what they think they should do," write authors Pierre Chandon (INSEAD), Ronn J. Smith (University of Arkansas), Vicki G. Morwitz (New York University), Eric R. Spangenberg, and David E. Sprott (both Washington State University). "This reduces the chances that they will simply repeat their past behavior and hence breaks their habits."

The researchers also confirmed that we are creatures of habit: When people did not have strong personal goals for how much they should engage in a particular behavior (like watching the news), asking them to predict how much they would watch the news resulted in strengthening their existing habits.

The researchers discovered the pattern across a number of different behaviors among participants in the United States and France. "We asked a group of people to predict whether or not they would engage in a particular behavior in the next week or month and did not ask the same question to a control group," the authors explain. "To measure habits, we collected data about behavior frequency and duration both before and after the time of the behavior prediction question."

In one experiment, the authors asked college students to predict whether they would read books or watch the news in the next week. "Compared to a control group, students asked to predict their behavior were more likely to repeat what they had done in the week before," the authors explain. "However, the same question disrupted habits for exercising, a behavior for which our participants held strong personal norms." Asking about future exercising led to an estimated 94 additional minutes of exercising (+ 138 percent) for students who had only exercised for 10 minutes in the week before.

"These findings have important implications, not only for those of us who are attempting to keep our New Year's resolutions, but also for managers or policy makers attempting to reinforce valuable habits and to disrupt harmful ones," the authors conclude.


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. Pierre Chandon, Ronn J. Smith, Vicki G. Morwitz, Eric R. Spangenberg, and David E. Sprott. When Does the Past Repeat Itself? The Interplay of Behavior Prediction and Personal Norms. Journal of Consumer Research, October 2011

Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "Getting healthy: When does prediction help people change their habits?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110317131043.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2011, March 17). Getting healthy: When does prediction help people change their habits?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110317131043.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "Getting healthy: When does prediction help people change their habits?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110317131043.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
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