What would you do? The effect of verbal persuasion on task choice
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Verbal persuasion has been shown to influence psychological and behavioral outcomes. The present study had two objectives: (1) to examine the effect of verbal persuasion on task choice in a balance setting and (2) to evaluate the use of verbal persuasion as an approach to experimentally induce mismatches between perceived and actual balance. Healthy young adults (N=68) completed an 8-m tandem walk task without vision and then were randomly assigned to a feedback group (good, control, or poor), regardless of actual balance. Following the feedback, participants chose to perform the task in one of three conditions differing in level of challenge and also were required to perform the task under the same pre-feedback conditions. Balance efficacy and perceived stability were rated before and after each pre- and post-feedback task, respectively. Balance performance measures were also collected. Following the feedback, participants in the good group were more likely to choose the most challenging task while those in the poor group were more likely to choose the least challenging task. Following the feedback, all groups showed improved balance performance. However, balance efficacy and perceived stability increased for the good and control groups but balance efficacy decreased and perceived stability was unchanged for the poor group. Thus, these findings demonstrate that verbal persuasion can influence task choice and may be used as an approach to experimentally create mismatches between perceived and actual balance.
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