International Journal of Exercise Science 12(5): 263-276, 2019. In order to improve physical activity levels, it has previously been suggested that the use of rewards can potentially have an impact on exercise behavior. One type of reward, the opportunity to present a good impression in the eyes of others (e.g., self-presentation), has not been previously examined in an experimental task. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate if linking an exercise task to a prosocial, self-presentational reward in the form of a charitable giving opportunity influences the amount of effort expended in a single bout of exercise on a stationary cycle. Participants (N = 108) were randomly assigned to one of four different treatment conditions: (a) Private potential health reward (i.e., control group), (b) Private prosocial reward (cycling for a monetary donation to charity), (c) Public self-presentational reward (cycling results posted on social media), and (d) Both public prosocial and self-presentational rewards. In each condition, participants volitionally cycled at a moderate intensity until they chose not to continue. Analyses using current physical activity levels, altruistic personality, impression motivation, and self-presentation in altruistic behavior as covariates showed that participants in the three immediate reward conditions (b, c, and d) cycled longer than those in the control group, and those in the combined rewards group (charity and social media) resulted in longer cycling duration than those who received only one of those rewards. Findings from this study support the possibility that using motivating rewards is positively associated with effort, particularly when charitable rewards are made public.
Gurleyik, Duygu; Ede, Alison; and Feltz, Deborah
"The Effects of Self-Presentation to Engage in Physical Activity,"
International Journal of Exercise Science: Vol. 12
5, Pages 263 - 276.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijes/vol12/iss5/3