Visualizing actions from a third-person perspective: effects on health behavior and the moderating role of behavior difficulty

Article English OPEN
Rennie, L.J. ; Harris, P.R. ; Webb, T.L. (2016)
  • Publisher: Wiley

Visualizing behavior from a third-person (vs. first-person) perspective can produce stronger\ud motivation to enact the behavior. However, the effects of perspective on health behaviors\ud have been mixed. Hypothesizing that the difficulty of the visualized behavior might moderate\ud the effect of perspective, two experiments manipulated the difficulty of the visualized\ud behaviors (fruit/vegetable consumption; exercise) plus perspective and subsequently\ud measured motivation (Experiments 1 and 2) and behavior (Experiment 2). In both\ud experiments, the third-person perspective produced stronger motivation to perform the easier,\ud but not the more difficult, behavior. This effect extended to behavior in Experiment 2. Under\ud certain conditions, encouraging people to visualize behavior from a third-person perspective\ud could represent a useful and cost-effective means of promoting health behavior change
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