CHANDON Pierre, SMITH Ronn J., MORWITZ Vicki, SPANGENBERG Eric R., SPROTT David E.
When Does the Past Repeat Itself? The Interplay of Behavior Prediction and Personal Norms Journal of Consumer Research 38, 3 (2011) 420-430
Does asking people about their future behaviour increase or decrease the likelihood that they will repeat their past behaviour? In two laboratory and two field experiments, we find that behaviour prediction strengthens behaviour repetition, making people more likely to do what they normally do when personal norms regarding engaging in a behaviour are weak or not easily accessible. However, when personal norms are strong or made accessible at the time of the prediction request, behaviour prediction weakens behaviour repetition and increases the likelihood that people do what they think they should do – even if it’s not what they normally would do. These findings provide new tools for influencing behaviour repetition, reconcile some seemingly contradictory past findings, and contribute to the debate regarding the relative importance of habits and intentions in guiding behaviour.