Using memories to motivate future behaviour: An experimental exercise intervention.


This study tested a novel memory-based experimental intervention to increase exercise activity. Undergraduate students completed a two-part online survey ostensibly regarding college activity choices. At Time 1, they completed questionnaires that included assessments of exercise-related attitudes, motivation and self-reported behaviours. Next, they described a memory of a positive or negative experience that would increase their motivation to exercise; students in a control condition did not receive a memory prompt. Finally, they rated their intentions to exercise in the future. Eight days following Time 1, students received a Time 2 survey that included an assessment of their self-reported exercise during the prior week. Students in the positive memory condition reported higher levels of subsequent exercise than those in the control condition; students in the negative memory condition reported intermediate levels of exercise. Activating a positive motivational memory had a significant effect on students' self-reported exercise activity even after controlling for prior attitudes, motivation and exercise activity.

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Taylor & Francis

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