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Don't Reveal Your New Year Resolution Till You Are Asked

Update Date: Jan 04, 2016 11:22 AM EST
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Do you have a New Year's resolution? You may not want to tell others what it is; instead, wait to be asked. Scientists have found that those who are asked about their New Year's resolution are more likely to follow through with it.

After examining 100 studies that probed the "question-behavior" effect, scientists found that when people ask others about a certain behavior, it tends to influence others' performance in the future.

"If you question a person about performing a future behavior, the likelihood of that behavior happening will change," said Dave Sprott, one of the researchers, in a news release. "If you question a person about performing a future behavior, the likelihood of that behavior happening will change," said Dave Sprott, one of the researchers, in a news release.

For instance, when you ask someone, "Will you recycle?" it may lead to a psychological response influencing their behavior when it is their turn to recycle. Such a question not only encourages them to recycle but also makes them feel uncomfortable if they do not undertake it.

"We found the effect is strongest when questions are used to encourage behavior with personal and socially accepted norms, such as eating healthy foods or volunteering," said Eric R. Spangenberg, first author of the new study. "But it can be used effectively to even influence consumer purchases, such as a new computer."

However, the question is not so useful when they are related to habits or behaviors that they have performed repeatedly. Moreover, people who were asked about vices also did them more than a control group.

These findings show how powerful questions are in changing behavior. Hence, it is useful while impacting a person's behavior, and also enabling someone to stick to a New Year's resolution.

The findings are published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology.

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