Tip #14: Use self-persuasion to share how much you’ve saved so far
November 21st, 2008 - 20 Comments
Today’s tip is to write down how much you’ve saved so far, AND how you would motivate others to save money. (Skip to the survey here.) If this doesn’t seem like an obvious savings tip, let me share an experiment that social psychologist Kurt Lewin did to change behavior.
In World War II, the United States was facing a serious shortage of meat. The Committee on Food Habits was charged with figuring out how to keep Americans healthy without the same meat they’d been accustomed to — and instead eating intestine and kidneys — so they asked Lewin to help.
Lewin’s approach was brilliant. As Eliot Aronson writes in Age of Propaganda, Lewin convened groups of housewives, who at that time were the chief decisionmakers about food. He then split them into two groups:
Group 1 received a 45-minute lecture, which “emphasized the importance of eating these meats for the war effort; it stressed the meats’ health and economic advantages…the lecture concluded with a testimonial from the speaker about her success in serving intestinal meats to her own family.” 3% of the attendees ended up serving intestinal meats to their families.
Group 2, by contrast, spent the same amount of time discussing the problem of a meat shortage, but in this experimental condition, Lewin did something extraordinarily clever: He asked them, “Do you think that housewives like yourselves could be persuaded to participate in the intestinal meat program?” The women then discussed how that might happen. In this group, “32% of the housewives who had engaged in self-persuasion served their families intestinal meats.”
That’s an astonishing difference, and I want to apply it here. Tell me how much you’ve saved, and how, together, we can persuade other people to save money. Please fill out the 3-minute survey here:
As a thank-you, 10 random people who will out the survey will get to pick any book from the Giveaways section of my book site. I’ll ship it to you for free.
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