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The authors describe two research experiments exploring the influence of race on the Köhler motivation gain effect with exercise tasks. Experiment 1 tested whether partner racial dissimilarity affects individual performance. Experiment 2 created a team identity recategorization intervention to potentially counter the influence on performance observed in Experiment 1. White male participants were partnered with either a Black or Asian partner (Experiment 1) or with a Black partner utilizing team names and shirt colors as a team identity recategorization strategy (Experiment 2). Racially dissimilar dyads completed two sets of abdominal plank exercises with a Köhler conjunctive task paradigm (stronger partner; team performance outcome dependent upon the weaker-ability participant’s performance). The results of Experiment 1 suggest attenuation of the previously successful group motivation gain effect in the racially dissimilar condition. The simple recategorization strategy utilized in Experiment 2 appeared to reverse motivation losses under conjunctive-task conditions in racially dissimilar exercise dyads.
Moss, Kerr, Cesario, Smith, Johnson and Feltz are with Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA. Samendinger is with SUNY-Farmingdale, East Farmingdale, NY, USA.