A Meta-Analytic Synthesis of the Question-Behavior Effect

Spangenberg, Eric R., Ioannis Kareklas, Berna Devezer, and David E. Sprott (2016), “A Meta-Analytic Synthesis of the Question-Behavior Effect,” Journal of Consumer Psychology, 26 (3), 441-458 .

56 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2015 Last revised: 19 Jun 2016

See all articles by Eric Richard Spangenberg

Eric Richard Spangenberg

University of California, Irvine

Ioannis Kareklas

State University of New York at Albany

Berna Devezer

University of Idaho

David Sprott

Washington State University

Date Written: December 11, 2015

Abstract

Asking people a question about performing a target behavior influences future performance of that behavior. While contextually robust and methodologically simple, this “question-behavior effect” reveals theoretical complexity as evidenced by the large number of proposed explanations for the effect. Furthermore, considerable heterogeneity exists regarding the “question” used to elicit the effect and the variety of different types of target “behaviors” for which the effect has manifested. A meta-analytic synthesis of 104 question-behavior studies across 51 published and unpublished papers is presented. Grouping proposed theories for the effect into four overarching categories, we derive and test systematic predictions regarding potential moderators of conceptual and practical significance. Our findings provide varying degrees of support for four different theoretical mechanisms (attitudes, consistency, fluency and motivations) proposed to underlie the effect. Insights into these mechanisms are presented and outstanding gaps in our understanding are identified as opportunities for future research.

Keywords: question-behavior effect, mere-measurement, self-prophecy, self-erasing nature of errors of prediction, social influence, meta-analysis

Suggested Citation

Spangenberg, Eric Richard and Kareklas, Ioannis and Devezer, Berna and Sprott, David, A Meta-Analytic Synthesis of the Question-Behavior Effect (December 11, 2015). Spangenberg, Eric R., Ioannis Kareklas, Berna Devezer, and David E. Sprott (2016), “A Meta-Analytic Synthesis of the Question-Behavior Effect,” Journal of Consumer Psychology, 26 (3), 441-458 .. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2702636

Eric Richard Spangenberg

University of California, Irvine ( email )

4293 Pereira Drive
Suite 5600
Irvine, CA 92697-3125
United States
949-824-8470 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Eric_Spangenberg

Ioannis Kareklas (Contact Author)

State University of New York at Albany ( email )

1400 Washington Ave
Albany, NY 12222
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.ioanniskareklas.com/

Berna Devezer

University of Idaho ( email )

College of Business and Economics, University of I
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3161
Moscow, ID Idaho 83844-3161
United States
2088854130 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.bernadevezer.com

David Sprott

Washington State University ( email )

Wilson Rd.
College of Business
Pullman, WA 99164
United States

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