Planning to lose weight: Randomized controlled trial of an implementation intention prompt to enhance weight reduction among overweight and obese women
ABSTRACT The trial investigates the effects of augmenting an established weight-reduction intervention with implementation intention prompts.
Fifty-five overweight or obese women (ages 18 to 76 years; body mass index from 25.28 to 48.33) enrolled in a commercial weight reduction program were randomly assigned to either an implementation intention prompt or a control condition. Data were collected twice, with a time gap of 2 months.
The primary outcome was participants' change in weight and body mass index from preintervention to follow-up.
Repeated measures analysis of variance revealed a significant Time = Condition interaction: On average, implementation intention prompt participants lost 4.2 kg (95% confidence interval = 3.19, 5.07), whereas control participants lost 2.1 kg (95% confidence interval = 1.11, 3.09). The change in frequency of planning mediated the effects of the intervention on weight and body mass index change.
Among obese or overweight women participating in a commercial weight loss program, those who learn to form implementation intentions can achieve greater weight reduction. Planning facilitation is a key mechanism explaining enhanced weight loss generated by implementation intention formation.
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ABSTRACT: Understanding human behavior lies at the heart of responses to climate change. Many environmentally relevant behavior patterns are frequent, stable, and persistent. There is an increasing focus on understanding these patterns less in terms of deliberative processes and more in terms of habits and routines embedded in everyday life. Examinations of the ‘habitual’ nature of environmentally consequential activities have been approached from two theoretically distinct perspectives. From a social psychological perspective, ‘habit’ is studied as an intra-individual psychological construct that sustains ingrained behavior patterns in stable settings and obstructs adoption of more environmentally friendly alternatives. Sociologists from the social practice tradition, in contrast, have sought to highlight the ways in which resource-intensive ‘habitual practices’ become established and maintained in society through a commingling of material, procedural, and socio-discursive elements. We reflect critically upon key theoretical differences underpinning these two approaches to repetitive behaviors and review empirical work from both traditions that speaks to the relevance of ‘habitual behavior patterns’ central to addressing climate change. Finally, we examine how changes in habits are theorized and operationalized within both social psychological and social practice approaches, and practical implications for promoting environmentally sustainable societies.For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website.Conflict of interest: The authors have declared no conflicts of interest for this article.11/2014; 6(1). DOI:10.1002/wcc.327
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ABSTRACT: Implementation intentions have the potential to break unwanted habits and help individuals behave in line with their goal intentions. We tested the effects of implementation intentions in the context of drivers’ speeding behavior. A randomized controlled design was used. Speeding behavior, goal intentions and theoretically derived motivational pre-cursors of goal intentions were measured at both baseline and follow-up (one month later) using self-report questionnaires. Immediately following the baseline questionnaire, the experimental (intervention) group (N = 117) specified implementation intentions using a volitional help sheet, which required the participants to link critical situations in which they were tempted to speed with goal-directed responses to resist the temptation. The control group (N = 126) instead received general information about the risks of speeding. In support of the hypotheses, the experimental group reported exceeding the speed limit significantly less often at follow-up than did the control group. This effect was specific to ‘inclined abstainers’ (i.e., participants who reported speeding more than they intended to at baseline and were therefore motivated to reduce their speeding) and could not be attributed to any changes in goal intentions to speed or any other measured motivational construct. Also in line with the hypotheses, implementation intentions attenuated the past-subsequent speeding behavior relationship and augmented the goal intention – subsequent speeding behavior relationship. The findings imply that implementation intentions are effective at reducing speeding and that they do so by weakening the effect of habit, thereby helping drivers to behave in accordance with their existing goal intentions. The volitional help sheet used in this study is an effective tool for promoting implementation intentions to reduce speeding.Accident Analysis & Prevention 11/2014; 74. DOI:10.1016/j.aap.2014.11.006 · 1.87 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: For centuries, human self-control has fascinated scientists and nonscientists alike. Current theories often attribute it to an executive control system. But even though executive control receives a great deal of attention across disciplines, most aspects of it are still poorly understood. Many theories rely on an ill-defined set of "homunculi" doing jobs like "response inhibition" or "updating" without explaining how they do so. Furthermore, it is not always appreciated that control takes place across different timescales. These two issues hamper major advances. Here we focus on the mechanistic basis for the executive control of actions. We propose that at the most basic level, action control depends on three cognitive processes: signal detection, action selection, and action execution. These processes are modulated via error-correction or outcome-evaluation mechanisms, preparation, and task rules maintained in working and long-term memory. We also consider how executive control of actions becomes automatized with practice and how people develop a control network. Finally, we discuss how the application of this unified framework in clinical domains can increase our understanding of control deficits and provide a theoretical basis for the development of novel behavioral change interventions.Perspectives on Psychological Science 09/2014; 9(5):497-524. DOI:10.1177/1745691614526414 · 4.89 Impact Factor