Using Hypothetical Questions To Influence Decisions

Most people don’t realize how questions can be persuasive, according to new research from the University of Alberta. Hypothetical questions usually start with the word “if,” meaning the information may or may not be true. Our brains process that information like the “if” isn’t even there, says study author Sarah Moore, Ph.D., a marketing professor at Alberta’s School of Business. “As a result, people accept the data you present at the beginning of a question as fact,” Moore says.

This is from an article in Men’s Health.  It made me think about lots of ways that hypotheticals could be used to drive consumer behavior in healthcare:

  • If you were able to avoid having your kids home with the flu shot this year, would you take them to get a flu shot?
  • If you were able to save $50,000 in healthcare costs over your lifetime, would you make sure to take your medications everyday?
  • If you were able to spend more time with your family rather than waiting in line at the pharmacy, would you be more likely to use 90-day prescriptions?
  • If you didn’t have to take any sick days next year, would you go in for your annual physical exam?
  • If you decreased your likelihood of losing your foot to amputation due to diabetes, would you go get a foot exam every year?

This fits well with a lot of the behavioral economics frameworks that companies are using today.

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One Response to “Using Hypothetical Questions To Influence Decisions”

  1. Useful information for healthcare marketers to apply when creating messages to consumers

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