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

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.


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.


Vanessa Patrick, University of Houston, USA
Henrik Hagtvedt, Boston College, USA


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 39 | 2011

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