The impact of asking intention or self-prediction questions on subsequent behavior: a meta-analysis

Chantelle Wood*, Mark Conner, Eleanor Miles, Tracy Sandberg, Natalie Taylor, Gaston Godin, Paschal Sheeran

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)
29 Downloads (Pure)


The current meta-analysis estimated the magnitude of the impact of asking intention and self-prediction questions on rates of subsequent behavior, and examined mediators and moderators of this question–behavior effect (QBE). Random-effects meta-analysis on 116 published tests of the effect indicated that intention/prediction questions have a small positive effect on behavior (d+ = 0.24). Little support was observed for attitude accessibility, cognitive dissonance, behavioral simulation, or processing fluency explanations of the QBE. Multivariate analyses indicated significant effects of social desirability of behavior/behavior domain (larger effects for more desirable and less risky behaviors), difficulty of behavior (larger effects for easy-to-perform behaviors), and sample type (larger effects among student samples). Although this review controls for co-occurrence of moderators in multivariate analyses, future primary research should systematically vary moderators in fully factorial designs. Further primary research is also needed to unravel the mechanisms underlying different variants of the QBE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-268
Number of pages24
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2016. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • behavior change
  • mere-measurement effect
  • meta-analysis
  • question–behavior effect
  • self-prophecy effect


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