Thursday, May 10, 2007

Constructive visualization: Try a third-person perspective ...

Interesting stuff:

One hundred and forty-six undergrad participants, all of whom had registered to vote, were asked to imagine themselves going to the polling booth to vote the next day, in what were then the upcoming 2002 presidential elections. Just under half were instructed to do this from a first-person perspective, the remainder were told to do it from a third-person perspective.

Next they answered questions about their attitudes to voting: how important it is to vote, and the lengths they would go to make their vote. Already differences appeared – those students who had visualised themselves voting from a third-person perspective displayed a stronger pro-voting mindset.

But most vitally, 95 of the participants were followed up a few weeks later (an equal proportion from each of the visualisation conditions), and 90 per cent of the participants who'd imagined themselves voting from a third-person perspective reported that they had indeed gone on to vote, compared with just 72 per cent of the first-person perspective participants – a statistically significant difference.