Say “I Don’T,” Not “I Can’T”: How Verbal Frames Provide Psychological Empowerment

Vanessa Patrick, University of Houston, USA
Henrik Hagtvedt, Boston College, USA
Four experiments and a field study demonstrate that verbally framing a refusal as “I don’t” (vs. “I can’t”) increases the likelihood of engaging in goal-directed behavior. The effect is mediated by feelings of empowerment. The results are reversed when an external cause for the goal pursuit is made salient.
[ to cite ]:
Vanessa Patrick and Henrik Hagtvedt (2011) ,"Say “I Don’T,” Not “I Can’T”: How Verbal Frames Provide Psychological Empowerment", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 39, eds. Rohini Ahluwalia, Tanya L. Chartrand, and Rebecca K. Ratner, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 434-435.