Science!: Locust Swarms and Shoplifting

Lauren Admire | 31 May 2010 21:00

Will I Win the Lottery?

People preaching the power of self-motivation often advise listeners to envision themselves achieving their goals. However, a new study shows that it may be better to pose your goal in question form, instead of statement form. In other words, it's better to say "Will I do this?" instead of saying "I will do this."

Researchers tested the effectiveness of self-motivation on 50 participants, testing them on their ability to create different words out of a set of letters. Beforehand, some participants were asked to spend a moment wondering if they could make several words, while other participants were asked to tell themselves that they would definitely be able to create many different words. The study found that participants who questioned whether or not they would be able to complete the task actually did better than those who believed they would complete the task.

In a follow up study, participants were asked to write how much they planned on exercising the following week, using "I will" or "Will I" statements. They were then asked to complete a scale that measured intrinsic motivation. Participants who used the "Will I" prompt showed an increase in intrinsic motivation.

"The popular idea is that self-affirmations enhance people's ability to meet their goals," University of Illinois professor Dolores Albarracin said. "It seems, however, that when it comes to performing a specific behavior, asking questions is a more promising way of achieving your objectives."

Source: Eureka Alert

Comments on