Big Picture, Bad Outcomes

When Visual Perspectives Harm Health Goal Pursuit

Jason Stornelli, Beatriz Pereira, Richard Justin Vann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

People often fail to achieve health goals, which compromises their well-being. Prior research suggests that seeing events through an observer's eyes (i.e., adopting a third-person perspective) should facilitate goal pursuit. However, we find that third-person perspectives discourage goal-consistent intentions and behavior for health goals when goal centrality is low (i.e., the goal is peripheral to one's self-concept). In Experiment 1, people who adopted a third-person perspective chose more sugary foods if they considered a healthy eating goal to be more peripheral to the self. Experiment 2 examines why a third-person perspective can hinder goal pursuit; it encourages a breakdown in implemental thinking which, in turn, increases negative self-conscious emotions. While high goal centrality buffers people from negative effects on goal intentions, low centrality does not. Experiment 3 demonstrates that this effect is robust when goal centrality is manipulated. We recommend that consumers pursuing health goals (and individuals who support them) exercise caution when employing perspective-based strategies, as they may backfire for people at greatest risk of goal abandonment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Consumer Psychology
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

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Health
Centrality
Experiment
Ego
Self Concept
Buffers
Emotions
Food
Research
Healthy eating
Buffer
Exercise
Compromise
Emotion
Self-concept
Well-being
Abandonment
Breakdown
Observer

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Marketing

Cite this

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Big Picture, Bad Outcomes : When Visual Perspectives Harm Health Goal Pursuit. / Stornelli, Jason; Pereira, Beatriz; Vann, Richard Justin.

In: Journal of Consumer Psychology, 01.01.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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