Publication Date


Degree Type

Master of Arts


In spite of the well-known physical and psychological benefits of exercise roughly 50% of people who start an exercise program will have dropped out within six months. Therefore, it is important to examine the determinants of exercise adherence. Past research has shown that enjoyment is an essential factor in exercise adherence. Additionally, music has been shown to influence exercise enjoyment. The music and enjoyment literature has generally included most preferred and no music conditions, yet no one has considered a least preferred music condition. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to examine the effects of music preference and exercise intensity on exercise enjoyment and perceived exertion. Participants (N=200) began by completing a music preference questionnaire. Each participant was randomly assigned to one of three music preference conditions (most preferred, least preferred, or no music). Next, they were asked to walk/run on a treadmill at one of three randomly assigned exercise intensities (low, moderate, or high) for 20 min. Following the exercise, participants completed an exercise enjoyment scale and a music satisfaction scale. Participants completed a measure of attentional focus (AFQ) as a trait measure before the exercise and as a state measure following the exercise. Perceived exertion was measured using Borg's RPE scale at the 10 and 20- min mark. A 3 (Music Condition) X 3 (Exercise Intensity) ANCOVA was conducted on enjoyment levels. There were no significant main effects and no significant interactions for music or intensity. A 3 (Music Condition) X 3 (Exercise Intensity) ANCOVA conducted on RPE scores revealed a significant main effect for intensity, F(2, 166) = 99.60, p <.01, r| = .55. There was no main effect for the music conditions and no significant interaction. A one-way ANOVA conducted on the music satisfaction questionnaire was significant, F(l, 130) =67.56, p <.00, r| = .34, with those in the most preferred music condition reporting higher levels of satisfaction with music choice than those in the least preferred music condition. An exploratory analysis, a 3 (Music) X 3 (Intensity) ANOVA conducted on enjoyment using participants that had paid attention to the music revealed a significant main effect for music, F(l,86) = 4.18, p = .044, accounting for roughly 5% of the variance in exercise enjoyment. Results of the study indicated that music preference does matter, as long as one pays attention to the music. If one pays attention to the music being played during exercise, then that person will enjoy that exercise significantly more than if she is listening to music she likes compared to music she does not like. Music preference does not appear to affect one's perceived effort during exercise. Results also revealed that the higher intensity at which a person is exercising, the more effort she will feel like she has to put forth. The results of the current study question the financial worth of health exercise facilities making music individualized for their patrons. Individualized music stations will be beneficial only to those patrons who pay attention to the music.


Psychology | Sports Sciences