Who’s Even Interested in the Exercise Message? Attentional Bias for Exercise and Sedentary-Lifestyle Related Words

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology

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Tanya R. BerryWilfrid Laurier University

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No research exists that examines attentional bias for exercise related stimuli, yet this is an important area as it is possible that nonexercisers are not paying attention to exercise related cues, thereby limiting the potential effectiveness of health promotion advertising. This research used a Stroop task to examine attentional bias for exercise and sedentary-lifestyle related stimuli. Experiment 1 included exercise related words and matched control words and revealed that exerciser schematics showed delayed response latencies for exercise related words. Experiment 2 expanded on Experiment 1 by further including sedentary-lifestyle related words and matched control words. Results replicated the first study and further revealed that nonexerciser schematics showed delayed response latencies for sedentary-lifestyle related words but not for exercise related words. Results are discussed in terms of attentional bias or the possibility of a threat-driven slowdown, and in relation to health promotion and exercise behavior.

Tanya R. Berry was at Wilfrid Laurier University at the time of this study. She is now at E-424 Van Vliet Centre, Faculty of Physical Education, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, T6G 2H9 Canada.

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