If You Want to Motivate Someone, Shut Up Already / by Brandon Irwin
The finding: Words of encouragement do not inspire people to perform better during a workout.
The research: Brandon Irwin asked subjects in a lab to perform two sets of abdominal exercises called “planks.” Some people did both sets alone. Others did the first set alone and the second with a virtual partner who was expert at planks and was projected onto a screen. Half the partners were quiet, and half said things like “Come on,” “You can do it,” and “You got this.” The subjects who had partners all exercised longer during the second set than the subjects who were alone. But those with silent partners did planks 33% longer, while those with “encouraging” partners did them only 22% longer.