Research Paper Title
The Impact of Social Category Diversity on Motivation Gains in Exercise Groups.
Exercising with a virtual partner can increase motivation by 208%, but may be moderated by partner characteristics. We tested the impact of social category diversity (ingroup/outgroup membership) on motivation with a virtual exercise partner.
Participants (N = 96) were randomised in a 3 (CONDITION: individual, partner-ingroup, partner-outgroup) x 2 (sex) x 2 (performance block: Block 1 & Block 2) design. Participants performed 2 sets of 5 abdominal plank exercises. Partnered conditions completed the second set of exercises with a virtual partner from either an ingroup (‘Us’) or outgroup (‘Them’). Motivation was measured as fatigue-corrected exercise persistence (s).
Partnered conditions exercised longer (M = 67.31s, SD = 63.53s) than the individual condition. The ‘Us’ condition persisted longer (M = 79.61s, SD = 61.92s) than the ‘Them’ condition (M = 55.02s, SD = 65.14s), although this difference only approached significance (p = .127).
Social category diversity is unlikely to undermine motivating effects of a moderately superior virtual partner. Group leaders and algorithms for group-based online interventions should consider partnering those who struggle to meet recommended levels of intensity and duration of physical activity with a moderately superior partner.
Irwin, B.C. & Thompson, N.S. (2016) The Impact of Social Category Diversity on Motivation Gains in Exercise Groups. American Journal of Health Behavior. 40(3), pp.332-340. doi: 10.5993/AJHB.40.3.5.