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Learning to Like Exercising: Evaluative Conditioning Changes Automatic Evaluations of Exercising and Influences Subsequent Exercising Behavior

Franziska Antoniewicz and Ralf Brand

This multistudy report used an experimental approach to alter automatic evaluations of exercise (AEE). First, we investigated the plasticity of AEE (study 1). A computerized evaluative conditioning task was developed that altered the AEE of participants in two experimental groups (acquisition of positive/negative associations involving exercising) and a control group (ηpart. 2 = .11). Second, we examined connections between changes in AEE and subsequent exercise behavior (chosen intensity on a bike ergometer; study 2) in individuals that were placed in groups according to their baseline AEE. Group differences in exercise behavior were detected (ηpart. 2 = .29). The effect was driven by the performance of the group with preexisting negative AEE that acquired more positive associations. This illustrates the effect of altered AEE on subsequent exercise behavior and the potential of AEE as a target for exercise intervention.

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To Run or Not to Run? Automatic Evaluations and Reflective Attitudes Toward Exercise

Julia Limmeroth and Norbert Hagemann

affective core response to the stimulus or event is the foundation for this reaction ( Ekkekakis, Hargreaves, & Parfitt, 2013 ). Automatic Evaluations and the Affective–Reflective Theory of Physical Inactivity and Exercise Automatic evaluations of exercise (AEE)-related stimuli could possibly explain why

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Automatic Evaluations and Exercise Setting Preference in Frequent Exercisers

Franziska Antoniewicz and Ralf Brand

The goals of this study were to test whether exercise-related stimuli can elicit automatic evaluative responses and whether automatic evaluations reflect exercise setting preference in highly active exercisers. An adapted version of the Affect Misattribution Procedure was employed. Seventy-two highly active exercisers (26 years ± 9.03; 43% female) were subliminally primed (7 ms) with pictures depicting typical fitness center scenarios or gray rectangles (control primes). After each prime, participants consciously evaluated the “pleasantness” of a Chinese symbol. Controlled evaluations were measured with a questionnaire and were more positive in participants who regularly visited fitness centers than in those who reported avoiding this exercise setting. Only center exercisers gave automatic positive evaluations of the fitness center setting (partial eta squared = .08). It is proposed that a subliminal Affect Misattribution Procedure paradigm can detect automatic evaluations to exercising and that, in highly active exercisers, these evaluations play a role in decisions about the exercise setting rather than the amounts of physical exercise. Findings are interpreted in terms of a dual systems theory of social information processing and behavior.

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The Stability of Automatic Evaluations of Physical Activity and Their Relations With Physical Activity

Amanda L. Hyde, Steriani Elavsky, Shawna E. Doerksen, and David E. Conroy

Accumulating research indicates that physical activity is motivated by automatic evaluations of physical activity. Little is known about the stability of automatic evaluations or how their dynamics impact physical activity. We tested the measurement invariance and stability of university students’ (N = 164) automatic evaluations of physical activity. In addition, multiple regression and structural equation models with latent interaction variables were used to investigate how changes in automatic evaluations related to change in self-reported physical activity and differences in the level of directly measured physical activity. It was revealed that automatic evaluations had strict measurement invariance and that automatic evaluations have both stable and unstable components. People whose unfavorable automatic evaluations became more favorable over the week showed a larger increase in self-reported physical activity from the previous week than did people whose automatic evaluations remained unfavorable. These results indicated that the dynamics of automatic evaluations and physical activity can be intertwined.

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Examining the Relationship Between Exercise-Related Cognitive Errors, Exercise Schema, and Implicit Associations

Sean R. Locke and Tanya R. Berry

it is possible that ECEs moderate this misconstrual process at an automatic level. The objective of this research was to examine ECEs from a dual processing perspective. Automatic evaluations develop over time based on experience or learning in exercise environments ( Gawronski et al., 2017 ). They

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Positive Implicit Associations for Physical Activity Predict Physical Activity and Affective Responses During Exercise

Gerson Daniel de Oliveira Calado, Andressa de Oliveira Araújo, Gledson Tavares Amorim Oliveira, Jeffer Eidi Sasaki, Amanda L. Rebar, Daniel Gomes da Silva Machado, and Hassan Mohamed Elsangedy

.1016/0749-5978(91)90020-T Antoniewicz , F. , & Brand , R. ( 2016 ). Dropping out or keeping up? Early-dropouts, late-dropouts, and maintainers differ in their automatic evaluations of exercise already before a 14-week exercise course . Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 1 – 8 .

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The Relationship of Self-efficacy and Explicit and Implicit Associations on the Intention–Behavior Gap

Alison Divine, Tanya Berry, Wendy Rodgers, and Craig Hall

Background: Recent physical activity research is limited by intention–behavior discordance and is beginning to recognize the importance of automatic processes in exercise. The purpose of the current study was to examine the role of multidimensional exercise self-efficacy (SE), explicit–implicit evaluative discrepancies (EIEDs) for health, and appearance on the intention–behavior gap in exercise. Methods: A total of 141 middle-aged inactive participants (mean age = 46.12 [8.17] y) completed measures of intentions, SE, and explicit and implicit evaluations of exercise outcomes. The participants were classified as inclined actors (n = 107) if they successfully started the exercise program and inclined abstainers (n = 35) if they were not successful. Results: The inclined actors and abstainers did not differ on intentions to exercise; however, the inclined actors had higher coping SE and lower EIEDs for health. In addition, the coping SE (Exp [β] = 1.03) and EIEDs for health (Exp [β] = −0.405) were significant predictors of being an inclined actor. Conclusions: The interaction between explicit and implicit processes in regard to health motives for exercise appears to influence the successful enactment of exercise from positive intentions. As most physical activity promotion strategies focus on health as a reason to be active, the role of implicit and explicit evaluations on behavioral decisions to exercise may inform future interventions.

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Affective Evaluations of Exercising: The Role of Automatic–Reflective Evaluation Discrepancy

Ralf Brand and Franziska Antoniewicz

Sometimes our automatic evaluations do not correspond well with those we can reflect on and articulate. We present a novel approach to the assessment of automatic and reflective affective evaluations of exercising. Based on the assumptions of the associative-propositional processes in evaluation model, we measured participants’ automatic evaluations of exercise and then shared this information with them, asked them to reflect on it and rate eventual discrepancy between their reflective evaluation and the assessment of their automatic evaluation. We found that mismatch between self-reported ideal exercise frequency and actual exercise frequency over the previous 14 weeks could be regressed on the discrepancy between a relatively negative automatic and a more positive reflective evaluation. This study illustrates the potential of a dual-process approach to the measurement of evaluative responses and suggests that mistrusting one’s negative spontaneous reaction to exercise and asserting a very positive reflective evaluation instead leads to the adoption of inflated exercise goals.

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Going to the Gym or to the Movies?: Situated Decisions as a Functional Link Connecting Automatic and Reflective Evaluations of Exercise With Exercising Behavior

Ralf Brand and Geoffrey Schweizer

The goal of the present paper is to propose a model for the study of automatic cognition and affect in exercise. We have chosen a dual-system approach to social information processing to investigate the hypothesis that situated decisions between behavioral alternatives form a functional link between automatic and reflective evaluations and the time spent on exercise. A new questionnaire is introduced to operationalize this link. A reaction-time–based evaluative priming task was used to test participants’ automatic evaluations. Affective and cognitive reflective evaluations, as well as exercising time, were requested via self-report. Path analyses suggest that the affective reflective (beta = .71) and the automatic evaluation (beta = .15) independently explain situated decisions, which, in turn (beta = .60) explain time spent on exercise. Our findings highlight the concept of contextualized decisions. They can serve as a starting point from which the so far seldom investigations of automatic cognition and affect in exercise can be integrated with multitudinous results from studies on reflective psychological determinants of health behavior.

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Exercise Might Be Good for Me, But I Don’t Feel Good About It: Do Automatic Associations Predict Exercise Behavior?

Matthias Bluemke, Ralf Brand, Geoffrey Schweizer, and Daniela Kahlert

Models employed in exercise psychology highlight the role of reflective processes for explaining behavior change. However, as discussed in social cognition literature, information-processing models also consider automatic processes (dual-process models). To examine the relevance of automatic processing in exercise psychology, we used a priming task to assess the automatic evaluations of exercise stimuli in physically active sport and exercise majors (n = 32), physically active nonsport majors (n = 31), and inactive students (n = 31). Results showed that physically active students responded faster to positive words after exercise primes, whereas inactive students responded more rapidly to negative words. Priming task reaction times were successfully used to predict reported amounts of exercise in an ordinal regression model. Findings were obtained only with experiential items reflecting negative and positive consequences of exercise. The results illustrate the potential importance of dual-process models in exercise psychology.