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

Academic Article


  • 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.
  • Authors

  • Biondolillo, Mathew J
  • Pillemer, David
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • 2015
  • Published In

  • Memory  Journal
  • Keywords

  • Attitude
  • Autobiographical memory
  • Behavior
  • Choice Behavior
  • Educational Status
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Health
  • Humans
  • Imagination
  • Male
  • Memory functions
  • Memory, Episodic
  • Motivation
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Students
  • Young Adult
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 24571515
  • Start Page

  • 390
  • End Page

  • 402
  • Volume

  • 23
  • Issue

  • 3