Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Do Nothing Option Helps People Accomplish Goals

From Knowledge@Wharton, "How the Option to Do Nothing Can Help You Get Things Done:"
Wharton marketing professor Rom Y. Schrift and Jeffrey R. Parker, a marketing professor at Georgia State University, figured out that introducing the option of doing absolutely nothing into a choice set will actually help us persevere to reach our objective. Their observations on the nuances of choice architecture are outlined in the forthcoming paper, "Staying the Course: The Option of Doing Nothing and Its Impact on Postchoice Persistence," to be published in the journal Psychological Science.
For example, let’s say someone is thinking about joining a gym. If the person is given the choice of joining Gym A or Gym B, he or she may pick Gym A as a preference, try it out and aim not to quit. But the researchers say if people were given the choice of Gym A, Gym B or not joining a gym at all, they may pick Gym A and be more likely to keep going simply because they were presented with an option of not joining at all. Knowing that you really wanted to join Gym A over not signing up for a membership anywhere makes you less likely to quit, they note.

Though it may sound like a small change, Schrift and Parker’s studies proved that given an additional option of doing absolutely nothing can make all the difference in the world. Having the choice of not doing something can actually transform people’s likelihood of accomplishing their goals.

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