We examine the mere-measurement effect, wherein simply asking a behavioral intent question increases the probability of subsequently engaging in the behavior. In multiple experiments we show that manipulations that should affect the ease of a mental representation or simulation of the behavior in question influence the extent of the mere-measurement phenomenon. Participants who were asked their intention to engage in various behaviors were more likely to change their actual behavior in situations where mentally simulating the behavior was relatively easy. We test this ease of representation hypothesis using both socially desirable and undesirable behaviors. Our findings have implications for survey research in various social contexts, including assessments of risky behaviors by public health organizations.
Robert David and Wesley Sine
Working Paper
Publication Date

Full Citation

David, Robert and Wesley Sine
. Institutional Change and Entrepreneurship in the Legitimation of New Organizational Forms. January 01, 2005.