Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 44, Issue 2, pp 151–159

Aerobic Exercise Is Promoted when Individual Performance Affects the Group: A Test of the Kohler Motivation Gain Effect


    • KinesiologyMichigan State University
  • Jennifer Scorniaenchi
    • KinesiologyMichigan State University
  • Norbert L. Kerr
    • KinesiologyMichigan State University
  • Joey C. Eisenmann
    • KinesiologyMichigan State University
  • Deborah L. Feltz
    • KinesiologyMichigan State University
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s12160-012-9367-4

Cite this article as:
Irwin, B.C., Scorniaenchi, J., Kerr, N.L. et al. ann. behav. med. (2012) 44: 151. doi:10.1007/s12160-012-9367-4



A key barrier to achieving recommended intensity and duration of physical activity is motivation.


We investigated whether a virtually present partner would influence participants’ motivation (duration) during aerobic exercise.


Fifty-eight females (Mage = 20.54 ± 1.86) were randomly assigned to either a coactive condition (exercising alongside another person, independently), a conjunctive condition (performance determined by whichever partner stops exercising first) where they exercised with a superior partner, or to an individual condition. Participants exercised on a stationary bike at 65 % of heart rate reserve on six separate days.


Across sessions, conjunctive condition participants exercised significantly longer (M = 21.89 min, SD = ±10.08 min) than those in coactive (M = 19.77 min, SD = ± 9.00 min) and individual (M = 10.6 min, SD = ±5.84 min) conditions (p < 0.05).


Exercising with a virtually present partner can improve performance on an aerobic exercise task across multiple sessions.


Group performanceGroup exerciseExergameKöhler effectMotivationExercise partner

Copyright information

© The Society of Behavioral Medicine 2012