Researchers at the University of Bath, UK, interviewed 281 male and female undergraduates and got half to imagine a physically unattractive version of themselves they feared they might turn into.
They then asked this group to either imagine a scenario in which they dramatically failed to keep to a fitness programme or one in which they dramatically succeeded.
The researchers found that those who had been asked to think about a dramatic failure to keep to the programme were motivated to keep on training because they were fearful of not looking good.
Those who were asked to imagine they were succeeding in getting fit became less motivated to continue at the gym because they no longer had this fear of not looking good.
The findings reveal why marketing works or doesn’t work for some products like gyms to get a better body or cosmetics to reduce wrinkles. The study shows that fear of failure motivates people more than gaining some success, which demotivates them. This fear of failure is particularly strong when people feel they can already see signs of the feared self they are striving to avoid.
“How consumers see themselves in the future has a strong effect on how motivated they are to keep using a product or service,” said Professor Brett Martin, of the University of Bath’s School of Management, who carried out the study with Dr Rana Sobh of Qatar University.
“When people dwell on a negative future, fear motivates them, yet as they move away from their feared state – a flabby body, or a wrinkled skin – they become less motivated.
“At that point, marketers should take advantage of another insight of our study - that of motivating people with a more positive outlook.”
Professor Martin found that among those who were asked to think positively about their bodies – the other half of the 281 surveyed - being successful in keeping to the fitness programme made them even keener to keep going to the gym. Failing to keep to the programme demotivated them.
“Once someone moves away from their “feared self” – in this case an unattractive body - because they are successful in the gym, they lose motivation, so highlighting thoughts of being unattractive is unlikely to work,” said Professor Martin, part of the School’s Marketing Group.
“But at that point, as they become more positive in their outlook, good marketing will build on this and suggest they can do even better. That type of motivation works for those with a positive outlook.
“However marketers should also be aware that those who are thinking positively will become discouraged if they don’t see success.”
Professor Martin and Dr Sobh have devised performance measures to ensure marketers achieve the optimal balance in their communications with consumers and keep them motivated.
The 281 undergraduates were in surveyed in Bath and 62 per cent were gym users.
Professor Martin and Dr Sobh found that 85 per cent of those who wanted to avoid a feared unattractive self responded to a scenario where they were failing in the gym by wanting to press on, compared with 65 per cent who were succeeding in the gym who were motivated to continue.
They found that 91 per cent of those thinking positively about their bodies responded to a scenario where they were succeeding in the gym by wanting to press on, compared with just 57 per cent of people who were failing in the gym and wanted to go on.
Tony Trueman | alfa
Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland
Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy