Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Take a trip down Memory Lane to the gym: Using memories to motivate

Date:
April 29, 2014
Source:
Taylor & Francis
Summary:
We all know that thinking about exercise isn’t the same as doing it. But researchers have confirmed what may be the next best thing: just thinking about a past exercise experience can motivate us to actually do it.

We all know that thinking about exercise isn't the same as doing it. But researchers from the University of New Hampshire have confirmed what may be the next best thing: just thinking about a past exercise experience can motivate us to actually do it.

Working on the premise that 'memories of past experiences guide current and future behaviours', psychologists Mathew J. Biondolillo and David B. Pillemer asked over 200 students to complete a questionnaire, ostensibly about college activity choices. Those not in the control group were asked to recall either a positive or a negative memory that they felt could motivate them to exercise. Both groups were then asked to report how much exercise they did over the following days.

As predicted, students who were asked to recall a positive memory about exercise reported 'significantly higher levels of subsequent exercise activity than students in the control group', even when controlling for other factors. Students who were asked to recall a negative memory also reported an increase in exercise, but to a lesser extent.

Students who recalled positive memories 'may have prompted positive feelings' related to exercise about themselves, which in turn increased both their intentions to exercise and subsequent exercise. But why should recalling negative memories also have a modest, but still positive, effect? Biondolillo and Pillemer explain that 'these memories may have activated general self-related feelings about the need to improve in the domain of exercise,' motivating the students in a different way.

Summing up their findings in the current issue of Memory, the pair writes: "These results provide the first experimental evidence that autobiographical memory activation can be an effective tool in motivating individuals to adopt healthier lifestyles."

Though limited in scope, this discovery has great potential, as it 'underscores the power of memory's directive influence in a new domain with practical applications: exercise behaviours.'

If remembering just one episode of exercise -- especially a positive one -- has a noticeable effect on reported rates of exercise, imagine the effects of 'exercise programmes that explicitly encourage or train participants to regularly activate emotional memories as a motivational tool'; more intensive interventions 'could result in greater and longer lasting increases in exercise activities', the authors write.

With more than one third of adults worldwide now overweight according to the WHO, Biondolillo and Pillemer's research is both fascinating and timely.

We certainly can't think ourselves thin, but we may be able to think ourselves to the gym.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Taylor & Francis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mathew J. Biondolillo, David B. Pillemer. Using memories to motivate future behaviour: An experimental exercise intervention. Memory, 2014; 1 DOI: 10.1080/09658211.2014.889709

Cite This Page:

Taylor & Francis. "Take a trip down Memory Lane to the gym: Using memories to motivate." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140429105017.htm>.
Taylor & Francis. (2014, April 29). Take a trip down Memory Lane to the gym: Using memories to motivate. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140429105017.htm
Taylor & Francis. "Take a trip down Memory Lane to the gym: Using memories to motivate." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140429105017.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The World Health Organization has declared Nigeria free of Ebola. Health experts credit a bit of luck and the government's initial response. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) An ingredient in erectile-dysfunction medications such as Viagra could improve heart function. Perhaps not surprising, given Viagra's history. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 20, 2014) Forty-three people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., were cleared overnight of twice-daily monitoring after 21 days of showing no symptoms. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fauci: Ebola Protocols to Focus on Training

Fauci: Ebola Protocols to Focus on Training

AP (Oct. 20, 2014) Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says he expects revised CDC protocols on Ebola to focus on training, observation and ensuring health care workers are more protected. (Oct. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins