Think­ing about whether we will do a task or not (“Will I…?”) rather than focus­ing on actu­ally per­form­ing the task (“I will….”) has been shown to increase both the prob­a­bil­ity of us even­tu­ally under­tak­ing the task and how suc­cess­fully we will per­form it.

The idea seems that “inter­rog­a­tive self-talk”, rather than declar­a­tive state­ments, leads to more inter­nal moti­va­tion due to a greater feel­ing of auton­omy.

Voter turnout in an elec­tion increased to 86.7% in peo­ple who had been asked to make a pre­dic­tion about whether they would vote, com­pared to 61.5% in those who were not asked the question.

When a restau­rant changed the receptionist’s script when tak­ing a book­ing from ‘Please call if you have to can­cel,’ to ‘Will you call if you have to can­cel?’ the no-show rate dropped from 30% to 10%.

Pro­fes­sor Richard Cial­dini attrib­utes this effect to our need to act in ways that are con­sis­tent with our pre­vi­ously estab­lished views of our­selves. Ask­ing our­selves ques­tions that draw atten­tion to our moti­va­tions force us to define who we are and what is impor­tant to us. Hav­ing defined these things, we have to act in accor­dance with them or face cog­ni­tive dissonance.

Those two anec­dotes (voter turnout, restau­rant can­cel­la­tions) are taken from chap­ter 16 of Robert Cialdini’s Yes! (pre­vi­ously).

Will you tweet about this study?

via @cojadate