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.

Related Articles


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 25, 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 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

AFP (Oct. 25, 2014) — An American nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for a Liberian patient in Texas has been declared free of the virus and will leave the hospital. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) — IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) — A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) — The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) 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