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The self-regulation of face touching : a preregistered experiment testing if-then plans as a means to promote COVID-19 prevention

The self-regulation of face touching : a preregistered experiment testing if-then plans as a means to promote COVID-19 prevention

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KELLER, Lucas, Marie-Claire KABENGELE, Peter M. GOLLWITZER, 2021. The self-regulation of face touching : a preregistered experiment testing if-then plans as a means to promote COVID-19 prevention. In: Psychology & Health. Routledge, Taylor & Francis. ISSN 0887-0446. eISSN 1476-8321. Available under: doi: 10.1080/08870446.2021.2005793

@article{Keller2021-11-21selfr-55812, title={The self-regulation of face touching : a preregistered experiment testing if-then plans as a means to promote COVID-19 prevention}, year={2021}, doi={10.1080/08870446.2021.2005793}, issn={0887-0446}, journal={Psychology & Health}, author={Keller, Lucas and Kabengele, Marie-Claire and Gollwitzer, Peter M.} }

Kabengele, Marie-Claire Gollwitzer, Peter M. 2021-12-09T10:12:11Z 2021-11-21 The self-regulation of face touching : a preregistered experiment testing if-then plans as a means to promote COVID-19 prevention Objective:<br />Reducing face touching could help slow COVID-19’s spread. We tested whether implementation intentions, a simple-to-use behaviour change intervention, reduce face-touching behaviour effectively.<br /><br />Design:<br />In this pre-registered online study, we utilised a novel way to collect behavioural data during a pandemic. We obtained video recordings of 156 adults while performing three engaging tasks for four minutes each. After the baseline task, participants formed the goal to avoid touching their faces; some participants also formed implementation intentions, targeting either the frequency or duration of face touching.<br /><br />Main Outcome Measures:<br />The 468 videos were rated by two independent raters for face touching frequency and duration.<br /><br />Results:<br />Face touching was widespread. Compared to the baseline, there was a slight reduction in the frequency of face touching after the experimental manipulations. We observed a significant decrease in the length of face touching only for participants with duration-focused implementation intentions.<br /><br />Conclusion:<br />While implementation intentions have effectively downregulated other unwanted behaviours, they did not reduce the frequency of face-touching behaviour. Still, duration-focused implementation intentions appear to be a promising strategy for face-touching behaviour change. This highlights the need for further optimisation and field research to test the effectiveness of implementation intentions in everyday life contexts. 2021-12-09T10:12:11Z Kabengele, Marie-Claire Gollwitzer, Peter M. eng Keller, Lucas Keller, Lucas

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