Does making a public commitment work as an incentive to lose weight?


Subjects in the long-term group that tested as having low SNI—in other words, low susceptibility to social pressure—achieved an average of 90% of their weight loss goals.  In contrast, individuals who tested as having high SNI exceeded their weight loss goals by a significant margin: an average of nearly 105%.

What this study tells us is that in general the public commitment principle produces results, especially if the commitment is long-term.  But, in the mix of people who make the commitment, those who genuinely fear social disapproval—not a personality trait usually given very high marks–will likely succeed the most. Those who couldn’t care less what others think are, ironically, more likely to come up short.

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