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Psychol Sci. 2007 Mar;18(3):199-203.

Picture yourself at the polls: visual perspective in mental imagery affects self-perception and behavior.

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Department of Psychology, The Ohio State University, 1835 Neil Ave., Columbus, OH 43210, USA.


The present research demonstrates that the visual perspective--own first-person versus observer's third-person--people use to picture themselves engaging in a potential future action affects their self-perceptions and subsequent behavior. On the eve of the 2004 U.S. presidential election, registered voters in Ohio were instructed to use either the first-person or the third-person perspective to picture themselves voting in the election. Picturing voting from the third-person perspective caused subjects to adopt a stronger pro-voting mind-set correspondent with the imagined behavior. Further, this effect on self-perception carried over to behavior, causing subjects who were instructed to picture voting from the third-person perspective to be significantly more likely to vote in the election. These findings extend previous research in autobiographical memory and social judgment linking the observer's perspective with dispositional attributions, and demonstrate the causal role of imagery in determining future behavior.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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