Focused and fired up: Narrowed attention produces perceived proximity and increases goal-relevant action
- 596 Downloads
Insufficient physical activity contributes to rising obesity rates. We tested one social cognitive strategy aimed at increasing physical activity in the environment. Specifically, we tested whether attentional narrowing can shift people’s perceptual representations of the environment and improve exercise behavior. Participants who adopted a narrow focus of attention, compared to participants who looked around the environment as they naturally would, perceived a target as physically closer (Studies 1, 2). In addition, narrowed attention reduced the time required to walk to a finish line and increased subjective ease of physical task performance, two markers of improved exercise (Study 2). We discuss implications of attentional strategies for perception and action in regards to health and fitness.
KeywordsExercise Attention Distance perception Motivation Self-regulation
- American Heart Association (2013). Heart disease and stroke statistics—2013 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation, 6–245.Google Scholar
- Bandura, A. (1994). Regulative function of perceived self-efficacy. In M. G. Rumsey, C. B. Walker, & J. H. Harris (Eds.), Personal selection and classification (pp. 261–271). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Blascovich, J. (2008). Challenge and threat. In A. J. Elliot (Ed.), Handbook of approach and avoidance motivation (pp. 431–445). New York: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2011). Youth risk behaviors surveillance—United States, 2011. Retrieved on August 5, 2013 from: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/ss/ss6104.pdf.
- Dollard, J., & Miller, N. E. (1950). Personality and psychotherapy. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
- Fitzgerald, M. (2010). Fueling your brain for running. Competitor. Retrieved on August 26, 2013 from http://running.competitor.com/2010/08/features/fueling-your-brain-for-running_11942.
- Gendolla, G. H. E., & Wright, R. A. (2005). Motivation in social settings: Studies of effort-related cardiovascular arousal. In J. P. Forgas, K. Williams, & B. von Hippel (Eds.), Social motivation: Conscious and nonconscious processes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Mendes, E. (2009). In: U.S. nearly half exercise less than three days a week. Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. Retrieved on August 5, 2013 from http://www.gallup.com/poll/118570/nearly-half-exercise-less-three-days-week.aspx.
- Mendes, E. (2010). In: U.S., obesity levels remain high but stable in 2010. Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. Retrieved on August 5, 2013, from http://www.gallup.com/poll/143483/obesity-levels-remain-high-stable-2010.aspx.
- Mendes, E. (2011). In: U.S., frequent exercise rebounds slightly in 2010. Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. Retrieved on October 13, 2013 from http://www.gallup.com/poll/146132/frequent-exercise-rebounds-slightly-2010.aspx.
- Ogden, C. L., & Carroll, M. D. (2010). Prevalence of overweight, obesity, and extreme obesity among adults: United States, trends 1960–1962 through 2007–2008. NCHS Health E-Stats. Retrieved on August 5, 2013 from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/hestats.htm.
- Pollack, A. (2013). AMA recognizes obesity as a disease. New York Times. Retrieved on August 26, 2013 from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/19/business/ama-recognizes-obesity-as-a-disease.html?_r=0.
- Sifferlin, A. (2012). Childhood obesity rates drop slightly in some cities: What are they doing right? Time: Health & Family. Retrieved on August 26, 2013 from http://healthland.time.com/2012/12/12/childhood-obesity-rates-drop-slightly-in-some-cities-what-are-they-doing-right/.
- Sifferlin, A. (2013). The good and bad news about obesity: It’s no longer rising, but it’s more dangerous than ever. Time: Health & Family. Retrieved on August 26, 2013 from http://healthland.time.com/2013/08/16/the-good-and-bad-news-about-obesity-f-as-in-fat-obesity-is-no-longer-rising-but-its-more-dangerous-than-ever/.
- Trust for America’s Health. (2013). F is for fat: How obesity threatens America’s future 2013. Retrieved on August 26, 2013 from http://healthyamericans.org/report/108/.
- World Health Organization (2013). Obesity and overweight fact sheet. Retrieved on June 30, 2013 from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs311/en/.
- Wright, R. A. (1996). Brehm’s theory of motivation as a model of effort and cardiovascular response. In P. M. Gollwitzer & J. A. Bargh (Eds.), The psychology of action: Linking cognition and motivation to behavior (pp. 424–453). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
- Wright, R. A., & Gendolla, G. H. E. (2011). How motivation affects cardiovascular response: Mechanisms and applications. Washington DC: APA Press.Google Scholar
- Wright, R. A., & Kirby, L. D. (2001). Effort determination of cardiovascular response: An integrative analysis with applications in social psychology. In M. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 33, pp. 255–307). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.Google Scholar