These are the fascinating questions asked in a new [paper] led by Ibrahim Senay and Dolores Albarracin, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and published in [Psychological Science]. The experiment was straightforward. Fifty three undergrads were divided into two groups. The first group was told to prepare for an anagram-solving task by thinking, for one minute, about whether they would work on anagrams. This is the "Will I?" condition, which the scientists refer to as the "interrogative form of self-talk". The second group, in contrast, was told to spend one minute thinking that they would work on anagrams. This is the "I Will" condition, or the "declarative form of self-talk". Both groups were then given ten minutes to solve as many anagrams as possible.…
At first glance, we might assume that the "I Will" group would solve more anagrams. After all, they are committing themselves to the task, silently asserting that they will solve the puzzles. The interrogative group, on the other hand, was just asking themselves a question; there was no commitment, just some inner uncertainty.
But that's not what happened. It turned out that that the "Will I?" group solved nearly 25 percent more anagrams. When people asked themselves a question — Can I do this? — they became more motivated to actually do it, which allowed them to solve more puzzles. This suggests that the Nike slogan should be "Just do it?" and not "Just do it".