Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



Dr. Katherine Milkman


Temptation bundling, an intervention involving the coupling of instantly gratifying activities with activities that provide long-term benefits but require some exertion of willpower, is a novel behavior change strategy. To date, despite the short and long-term benefits of such an approach, only one study has evaluated its efficacy in the field. This work found that restricting participants’ listening of tempting audiobooks to the gym improved participants’ gym visitation rates. In a subsequent forthcoming mega-study, receipt of a free audiobook, even when participants received no explicit instruction on temptation bundling as a behavior change strategy, again drove improvements in participants’ gym visits. These mega-study results raise an important question regarding whether temptation bundle can be intuited and applied as a motivational strategy even without explicit instruction. Two online surveys were conducted in which participants reviewed content identical to that of the mega-study sign-up and assessed the audiobook’s motivational value (Study 1) and intended use (Study 2). Findings indicate the strategy of temptation bundling can both be deduced from the mere receipt of a free audiobook (Study 2), and viewed as a valuable motivator of gym attendance (Study 1). Both studies support the value of temptation bundling as a behavior change technique, and offer suggestive evidence of its use as a potentially scalable, low-cost intervention to promote behavior change for good.


temptation bundling, behavior change, want-should conflicts, reminders, warm-glow effects, self-control, personal rules, exercise, habits, audiobooks, habit-building



Date Posted: 19 May 2020


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