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Encouraging bigger-picture thinking in an intervention to target multiple obesogenic health behaviours

Rennie, Laura, Uskul, Ayse K. (2017) Encouraging bigger-picture thinking in an intervention to target multiple obesogenic health behaviours. Appetite, 118 . pp. 144-148. ISSN 0195-6663. E-ISSN 1095-8304. (doi:10.1016/j.appet.2017.08.003) (KAR id:62868)

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Research has shown that use of the third-person perspective to visualise a behaviour results in increased motivation to engage in the behaviour relative to the first-person perspective. This effect is claimed to operate in part because the third-person perspective leads the individual to “see the bigger picture”, linking the visualised behaviour to broader goals and identities. Reasoning that this effect could be harnessed to encourage engaging in multiple behaviours that serve the same broader goal, the present study manipulated the visual perspective participants used to imagine themselves exercising, and assessed effects on cognitions and behaviour related to both exercising and healthy eating. Baseline exercise levels were measured and explored as a moderation effect. As predicted, it was found that for participants who engaged in more exercise at baseline, visualising exercise using the third-person perspective resulted in them reporting stronger intentions to exercise and taking more leaflets showing local exercise classes. For those who engaged in less exercise at baseline, there was no effect of perspective. In terms of eating, there was a main effect of perspective, such that participants who imagined themselves exercising using the third-person perspective ate significantly less chocolate than those who used the first-person perspective, irrespective of baseline exercise levels. These results suggest that use of third-person perspective visualisation can be used to encourage engagement in multiple behaviours that serve the same broad goal, which may serve as an intervention technique that will be especially helpful for health outcomes with multiple contributing behaviours, such as obesity and overweight.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.appet.2017.08.003
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology > Social Psychology
Depositing User: Ayse Uskul
Date Deposited: 17 Aug 2017 09:10 UTC
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2020 04:09 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Uskul, Ayse K.:
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