Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 387-392

First online:

Multiple plans and memory performance: results of a randomized controlled trial targeting fruit and vegetable intake

  • Amelie U. WiedemannAffiliated withInstitute of Medical Psychology, Charité—Universitaetsmedizin Berlin Email author 
  • , Sonia LippkeAffiliated withJacobs Center on Lifelong Learning and Institutional Development, Jacobs University BremenDepartment of Health Promotion, Universiteit Maastricht
  • , Ralf SchwarzerAffiliated withDepartment of Health Psychology, Freie Universitaet Berlin and Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities

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To test whether forming and memorizing more action plans has larger effects than generating fewer plans. In a randomized controlled trial with five intervention groups and one control group, 478 participants were asked to form one, two, three, four, or five action plans, or to complete questionnaires only (control group). One week later, behavior change was measured and participants of the intervention groups completed a free recall task. Outcome measures are daily intake of fruit and vegetables as well as recall of plans. Fruit and vegetable intake increased with higher numbers of plans, and was significantly larger in groups that formed four (d = 0.36) or five plans (d = 0.48) as compared to controls. The sum of recalled plans reflected the number of generated plans, but was unrelated to behavior change. Generating multiple plans benefits behavior change, but to be implemented they need not be recalled.


Action plan Implementation intention Randomized controlled trial Healthy nutrition Health behavior change