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Get Active (But Get Snacking)

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0021433/00001

Material Information

Title: Get Active (But Get Snacking) Undesirable Effects of Action Goals on Diet and Exercise
Physical Description: 1 online resource (42 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Leeper, Josh H
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2007

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: diet, exercise, goals, psychology
Psychology -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Psychology thesis, M.S.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: Recent experiments have revealed that exposure to general action goal primes increases the expression of a variety of subsequent behaviors, including folding paper, studying a passage and clicking a mouse (Albarracin et al., 2006). The effect of general action goals on both diet and exercise behaviors were investigated in three studies. Experiment 1 used a word-completion-priming paradigm followed by an opportunity to consume food and exercise. There was a main effect of prime on both eating and exercising. In Experiment 2, goals were primed subliminally, and there was a marginal effect of prime on the second exercise in the pair. In Experiment 3, specific primes to exercise or indulge were presented alone or with action goals. Data suggest that specific primes are effective on their own, because they increased eating and exercising relative to controls, yet when added to general action goals, were not at all effective at increasing the target behaviors.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Josh H Leeper.
Thesis: Thesis (M.S.)--University of Florida, 2007.
Local: Adviser: Albarracin, Dolores.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2007
System ID: UFE0021433:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0021433/00001

Material Information

Title: Get Active (But Get Snacking) Undesirable Effects of Action Goals on Diet and Exercise
Physical Description: 1 online resource (42 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Leeper, Josh H
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2007

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: diet, exercise, goals, psychology
Psychology -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Psychology thesis, M.S.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: Recent experiments have revealed that exposure to general action goal primes increases the expression of a variety of subsequent behaviors, including folding paper, studying a passage and clicking a mouse (Albarracin et al., 2006). The effect of general action goals on both diet and exercise behaviors were investigated in three studies. Experiment 1 used a word-completion-priming paradigm followed by an opportunity to consume food and exercise. There was a main effect of prime on both eating and exercising. In Experiment 2, goals were primed subliminally, and there was a marginal effect of prime on the second exercise in the pair. In Experiment 3, specific primes to exercise or indulge were presented alone or with action goals. Data suggest that specific primes are effective on their own, because they increased eating and exercising relative to controls, yet when added to general action goals, were not at all effective at increasing the target behaviors.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Josh H Leeper.
Thesis: Thesis (M.S.)--University of Florida, 2007.
Local: Adviser: Albarracin, Dolores.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2007
System ID: UFE0021433:00001


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GET ACTIVE (BUT GET SNACKINTG): UNDESIRABLE EFFECTS OF ACTION GOALS
ON DIET AND EXERCISE





















By

JOSHUA LEEPER


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF SCIENCE

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2007

































O 2007 Joshua Leeper






























To my friends and family









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I thank Dr. Dolores Albarracin for her patience and commitment to my proj ect. I would

like thank my fellow grad students for their advice and feedback on my presentations. I also

thank the research assistants in the Albarracin lab for keeping our computer lab running

smoothly and ensuring that data collection is on track.













TABLE OF CONTENTS


page


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .............. ...............4.....


LIST OF TABLES ................ ...............7............ ....


AB S TRAC T ......_ ................. ............_........8


CHAPTER


1 GET ACTIVE (BUT GET SNACKING): UNDESIRABLE EFFECTS OF ACTION
GOALS ON DIET AND EXERCISE .............. ...............9.....


Introducti on .................. ......_ __ ...............9.....
General Action Goal s ................. ...... ...............1

Negative Effects of General Action Goals .................. ... ..._.._ .............. ......1
Simultaneous Activation of Specific and General Action Goals .............. ...................15


2 EXPERIMENT 1 .............. ...............19....


Method ......__................. ......._.. .........19
Overview .............. ...............19...

Participants and Design ................. ...............19..............
Procedure ................. ...............19........ ......
Materials and Measures ................. ...............21..............
Re sults................ ...............23........ ......
Discussion ................. ...............24........ ......


3 EXPERIMENT 2 ................. ...............26..............


Method ......__................. ......._.. .........26
Overview .............. ...............26...

Participants and Design ................. ...............26..............
Procedure ................. ...............26........ ......
Re sults................ ...............28........ ......
Discussion ................. ...............28........ ......


4 EXPERIMENT 3 .............. ...............30....


Method ......_ ................. ......._.. .........3
Overview .............. ...............30...

Participants and Design ................. ...............3 1......... ...
Snacking Stimulus ................. ...............3.. 1..............
Procedure ................. ...............3.. 1..............
Re sults ................ ...............32.................
Discussion ................. ...............33.................












5 GENE RAL DI SCUS SSION ............ ..... ._ ............... 4...


APPENDIX


A PRIME WORD LISTS .............. ...............37....


B SCRIPTS FOR EXERCISES .............. ...............39....


LIST OF REFERENCES ............ ..... ._ ...............40...


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .............. ...............42....










LIST OF TABLES


Table page

4-1 Food consumption as a function of prime: Number of yogurt raisins eaten across
general prime and specific prime .........____....... .__ ...............36...

4-2 Exercise performance as a function of prime: Number of seconds spent exercising,
crossing general prime and specific prime............... ...............36.








Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science

GET ACTIVE (BUT GET SNACKING): UNDESIRABLE EFFECTS OF ACTION GOALS
ON DIET AND EXERCISE

By

Joshua H. Leeper

December 2007

Chair: Dolores Albarracin
Major: Psychology

Recent experiments have revealed that exposure to general action goal primes increases the

expression of a variety of subsequent behaviors, including folding paper, studying a passage and

clicking a mouse (Albarracin et al., 2006). The effect of general action goals on both diet and

exercise behaviors were investigated in three studies. Experiment 1 used a word-completion-

priming paradigm followed by an opportunity to consume food and exercise. There was a main

effect of prime on both eating and exercising.

In Experiment 2, goals were primed subliminally, and there was a marginal effect of prime

on the second exercise in the pair. In Experiment 3, specific primes to exercise or indulge were

presented alone or with action goals. Data suggest that specific primes are effective on their own,

because they increased eating and exercising relative to controls, yet when added to general

action goals, were not at all effective at increasing the target behaviors.









CHAPTER 1
GET ACTIVE (BUT GET SNACKINTG): UNDESIRABLE EFFECTS OF ACTION GOALS
ON DIET AND EXERCISE

Introduction

Levels of activity vary across cultures, individuals, and situations. Industrialized nations--

especially the U. S.--have seen vast increases in levels of activity in the past century, as reflected

in internet use, working hours, athletic performance, and caffeine consumption (Costa, 2000;

Gleick, 2000; OECD, 2005; International Olympic Committee, n.d.). Such increases may lead to

a larger desire to be active which may spill over into other activities. For example, a stock broker

accustomed to a fast pace of working may have difficulty slowing down or relaxing after arriving

home from work. The lingering, general goal to be active could manifest itself in a variety of

positive ways, from taking the dog for a walk to cleaning the garage. However, the general goal

to be active could also manifest itself in undesirable ways, from compulsively checking e-mail to

raiding the pantry.

To understand these potential effects, one could think of the general motivation to perform

an effortful, energy-demanding goal-directed event as a general action goal (Albarracin et al..,

2006). General action goals have the end state of action and may stimulate the initiation or

continuation of a variety of behaviors. They are necessary to perform desired behaviors, such as

doing homework, volunteering in the community, or mowing the lawn. However, such general

action goals--not being attached to any single activity--may also stimulate trivial behaviors, such

as Eidgeting and tapping one's foot. Even worse, they may also yield detrimental behaviors, such

as honking at other cars in traffic, shopping online excessively or losing sleep.

The present thesis examined whether activating general action goals jointly influences

beneficial behaviors--exercise in this case--and detrimental behaviors, such as overeating. An

intervention designed to increase physical activity may promote the goal of "being active." Of









course, one can expect that a general action goal instilled by this program will increase exercise

which will ultimately lead to health benefits, including weight loss and improved cardiovascular

health. However, "being active" may be too general a goal. Overeating, for example, is another

activity likely to satisfy a general goal to "be active." Hence, unless one can prevent the goal

from affecting eating habits, such a goal could end up sabotaging an attempt to lose weight.

This thesis addressed one potentially detrimental effect of general action goals: unwanted

generalization of general action goals to irrelevant or maladaptive behaviors. It also addressed

the potential effects of simultaneously priming a specific behavioral goal in addition to a general

action goal. According to the first hypothesis, setting general action goals can lead to increased

exercise and increased eating. Second, the combination of specific behavioral goal with a general

action goal could have three potential effects: a specific goal may limit the application of the

general action goal to specific behaviors, a specific goal could overpower the general action goal

and conversely, the general action goal could overpower the specific goal.

Briefly, in the first study, we tested whether general action goals generalize to either

exercise or eating by exposing participants to action goal primes and allowing them to eat and

exercise. In the second study, we tested the effects of subliminal general action goal primes on

the same behavioral dependent variables. In the third study, subliminal action goal primes were

presented in combination with more specific goal primes related to eating or to exercise.

General Action Goals

General action goals, like other goals, can be primed through exposure to words--such as

"action," "go," "start" and "doing"--presented as part a word completion or subliminal word

presentation task (Albarracin et al., 2006). There is evidence to suggest that these general goals

affect almost any behavior. In a study by Albarracin et al. (2006), participants presented with

general action goal primes were more likely to choose to fold a paper airplane or doodle on scrap










paper than sit quietly. By contrast, participants presented with a set of neutral words (hereafter

referred to as a control prime) were more likely to choose to rest than either fold or doodle on a

piece of paper. Thus, general action goal priming yielded a relatively trivial motor behavior

instead of motor rest. In other studies, priming general action goals stimulated engagement of

various cognitive behaviors. In Albarracin and colleagues' (2006) Experiment 2, participants

were primed with either action, inaction, or a neutral-word control using a word completion

paradigm. Then participants watched a video of a male student performing mundane activities in

his dorm, such as sipping a drink and checking e-mail. Participants were asked to press the

spacebar each time the student in the video engaged in a meaningful event (a paradigm

developed by Lassiter, Geers, & Apple, 2002). The spacebar-pressing behavior measured in

Experiment 2 has been shown to increase in previous studies when participants exert cognitive

effort. In the action prime study, the action primes stimulated higher counts than the neutral-

control primes. Thus, the results may imply more cognitive activity in the action prime

conditions than in the neutral condition.

In another test of the cognitive effects of general action goals using a subliminal priming

procedure (Experiment 4), participants were asked to read and think about a written passage.

After reading about evolutionary perspectives on food-sharing, they were then asked open- and

closed-ended questions to assess how accurately they recalled the material. Recall is a measure

of memory encoding (e.g., semantic or phonemic), and depends on how effortfully people

process what they read (Craik & Tulving, 1975). As predicted, recipients of general action goal

primes recalled the material more accurately and gave more elaborated answers than recipients

of control primes.









There has also been a study confirming that the effects of general action primes on various

measures are due to the activation of these goals (Albarracin et al., 2006: Experiment 5). As in

the other studies, participants performed a word completion task that primed them with action,

inaction (e.g., "freeze," "pause," "relax"), or neutral words. After this task, half of the

participants were allowed to freely satisfy their action goals by completing a series of math and

verbal problems or by doing nothing. These participants then completed a lexical decision task,

which included both action and neutral words. The other half of the participants completed the

same lexical decision task without a prior opportunity to satisfy their action goals. Consistent

with past research on goal satisfaction (Zeigarnik, 1927), when there was no opportunity to

satisfy the general action goal, the LDT revealed greater activation of action words than of

inaction words. In contrast, participants who were given an opportunity to satisfy their general

action goal did not respond faster to action words than inaction words. These findings suggest

that satisfying the general action goal deactivates the corresponding semantic mental

representation that is associated with the goal (Forster, Liberman, & Higgins, 2005).

In sum, past research on general action goals suggested that these goals can increase the

likelihood or intensity of both physical and cognitive behaviors. This past research, however,

only investigated these effects on mildly desirable or trivial behaviors such as reading for

comprehension or folding a paper plane. Although not addressed directly in the past, the

generalizability of general action goals suggests that the effects of these goals are not limited to

increases in positive or innocuous behavior; the expression of negative behaviors may be

increased as well. The primary goal of this thesis was to determine whether general action goals

can lead to the increased expression of both positive and negative behaviors in the same context

(exercising and snacking, respectively). The secondary goal of this thesis was to test whether the









addition of a second goal limits the effects of the general action goal to either positive or

negative target behaviors (exercising or snacking), or whether the general action goal is

overpowered by the specific goal or vice versa.

Negative Effects of General Action Goals

In the United States, weight loss has become an important goal. Americans spend over $50

billion on diet-related products each year (Maine, 2000). Year after year, Americans cite weight

loss as their number one New Year' s resolution (Norcross, Mrykalo, & Blagys, 2002). Despite

the intention and effort to lose weight, 95% of dieters regain their lost weight in 1-5 years

(Grodstein, 1996). To lose weight, dieters must increase energy expenditure relative to caloric

intake, either through dieting or greater physical activity (Blair et al., 1989). Due to the difficulty

of dieting and the desire not to discourage the sedentary and obese, many weight-loss and

general health-promoting campaigns focus simply on increasing activity level (Critser, 2003).

These programs, however, are framed in ways that may instill general action goals rather than

exclusively exercise goals. For example, the President' s Council on Physical Fitness has been

promoting the "Keep America Moving" campaign for 50 years. This program encourages "all

Americans to make being active part of their everyday lives" (President' s Challenge Physical

Activity and Fitness Rewards Program, n.d.). Encouraging activity in the most general sense, an

excerpt from the program reads: "No matter what your activity and fitness level, the President's

Challenge can help motivate you to improve."

Importantly, the potential irony of the "Keep America Moving" approach is that telling

people to "be active" may be counteracting attempts to lose weight. There are at least two

reasons for this prediction. First, such an appeal may not instill a specific enough goal to exercise

because the goal is too general. For example, woodcutters sent into the forest after receiving a

specific and challenging goal (cutting down more trees than can be cut down through the normal









amount of effort) exhibited higher productivity than those given specific, modest goals, as well

as vague, challenging goals (e.g., "do your best") (Latham & Yukl, 1975). This relative increase

in performance is attributed to an increase in woodcutters' self-efficacy as a result of clearer

standards of progress against which to regulate behavior (Locke & Latham, 1990). If the "Keep

America Moving" types of appeals instill vague action goals, these goals may be satisfied with

little activity because of the lack of precise standards (e.g., how much to move, what to do, etc.).

Spending 10 minutes performing warm-up exercises may satisfy such a vague action goal, but it

should not satisfy a specific goal to get 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise.

Second, based on past research on general action goals, these appeals may have unintended

deleterious effects. If a general action goal can be satisfied by folding a piece of paper, counting

behaviors in a video, or deeply processing a written passage, this same goal could likely be

satisfied by eating chocolates or spending money at the mall. These predictions follow the

principle that a goal can be satisfied through a variety of means (i.e., equifinality; Kruglanski,

1996). A general action goal has a very large set of satisfaction means, including going

swimming, baking cookies, or organizing one's sock drawer. Although general action goals are

often adopted as a means to lose weight, the process of changing into gym clothes, hunting for

one' s car keys and filling a bottle of water may be enough to satisfy the general action goal

without actually going to the gym.

Both of these lines of research converge on the prediction that general goals should be less

effective than specific goals at initiating a specific target behavior. However, this is only the case

when adopting a specific goal to exercise instead of adopting a general action goal to obtain the

same means (i.e. being physically fit). This is in contrast to simultaneously adopting both goals,

although that may also occur. For example, a person may glance across a rack of fitness










magazines and activate both the goal to exercise and the general goal to increase one's level of

activity. Also, for individuals who have chronically activated general action goals--manic

individuals for example--a specific goal to be active would often be activated simultaneously

with the general goal to be active. Therefore, it is necessary to investigate the simultaneous effect

of general and specific goals to be active.

Simultaneous Activation of Specific and General Action Goals

Like general action goals, more specific action goals, such as the goal to go for a run, can

be satisfied by multiple means (Kruglanski, 1996). One may go jogging, run on the treadmill at

the gym, or play soccer. Nonetheless, the range of means to satisfy a specific goal is much

narrower than that of a general action goal. For example, the goal to run should exclude such

means as ordering a pizza, snacking on readily accessible foods, or sitting on the couch to watch

television. Likewise, a goal to run for 90 minutes should exclude taking a 15-minute run. By

establishing specific goals, specific goals can be targeted without worry of spillover into

completely unrelated domains.

As suggested by research on goal specificity (Locke & Latham, 1990; Latham & Yukl

1975), specific action goals, such as the goal to play a game of basketball, should not be

prematurely satisfied by a lesser activity (e.g., dribbling a basketball). Research on goal

specificity in the domain of physical performance suggests that specific long- and short-term

goals are more effective than general "do your best" goals, even when participants given specific

goals also adopt the general "do your best goal" (Mento, Steel, & Karren, 1987; Weinberg,

Bruya & Jackson, 1985). Therefore, it is likely that a specific goal is more effective than a

general action goal at achieving a specific endpoint, even when the two are adopted

simultaneously.









There are instances in which a subordinate goal can override a superordinate goal. For

example, the goal to eat a slice of cake may overpower the desire to restrain eating (Carver &

Scheier, 1996). However, in the ideal case, the activation of a superordinate goal leads to the

increased activation of specific goals that are subsumed under such a goal. In the case of general

action goal activation, this should energize goals related to exercising and any other activity an

individual construes as "active". Thus activating a general action goal should be a potent means

of energizing a variety of specific goals that are related to physical activity.

The Present Research. Three studies were conducted to assess the consequences of

general action goals in the domain of diet and exercise. In the first study, participants received an

action goal prime or a set of neutral words as part of a word completion task. In the word

completion task, participants were presented with an incomplete word and were instructed to try

to determine the missing letters. For example "BHAV_" would be properly completed as

"BEHAVE." Then participants were presented with an ostensible marketing questionnaire for the

purpose of evaluating two products. One product was a container designed to keep food fresh,

and participants are led to believe that a sample of grapes they are given was previously stored in

such a container. The other product was described as an exercise video, from which participants

were presented an excerpt of the script describing how to perform the exercises. The grapes and

exercise instructions were presented in counterbalanced order so that either eating or exercising

will come first. The amount of grapes eaten and the time spent practicing the exercises were the

indices of activity. The second study was a replication of the first, testing the effectiveness of

general action goal prime words presented subliminally in increasing food consumption and

exercise. In the goal priming task, participants completed an ostensible hand-eye coordination










task, during which they were exposed subliminally to the prime words, followed by a chance

either to eat chocolate chip cookies or practice two exercises.

In the third study, participants received either an action goal prime or a control prime in

combination with exercise goal primes, indulge goal primes or control primes. This allows a 2 X

3 factorial design to test the effects of the specific goal primes by themselves and in combination

with general action goals. The priming task paradigm was the same as in Experiment 2.

Consistent with the two previous studies, participants then completed the ostensible marketing

questionnaire, having the opportunity to eat yogurt raisins which had been kept in a special

container and practice two exercises. The yogurt raisins and exercise instructions were presented

in counterbalanced order so that either eating or exercising came first. The amount of yogurt

raisins eaten and the time spent practicing the exercises were the indices of activity. After

exposure to the primes, snacks and exercise, participants completed a series of scale questions

about the target stimuli in order to maintain the cover story (Appendix C).

Consistent with previous research on the effects of general action goals (Albarracin et al.,

2006), we hypothesized that those who received neutral words in the priming task will exercise

less and eat less than those who receive action prime words (Hypothesis 1). In line with research

on goal specifieity (Locke & Latham 1990), we hypothesized that specific goal primes alone

(exercise vs. indulge) would be more effective than general action goals at increasing the

corresponding target behaviors (Hypothesis 2). Based on the properties of goal hierarchies

(Carver & Scheier, 1996), we hypothesized that simultaneous priming of general action goals

and specific goals (exercise vs. indulge) could have three potential outcomes: Combining

specific goal primes with general action goal primes could restrict the effects of the general

action goal prime, preventing it from overgeneralizing (Hypothesis 3), but it could also render









the specific goal useless because general action goals are difficult to override by a subordinate

goal (Hypothesis 4). Conversely, there is also a chance that the subordinate goal will overpower

the general action goal, and that the simultaneous presentation of general and specific goal

primes will have the same results as merely presenting the specific goal prime (Hypothesis 5).









CHAPTER 2
EXPERIMENT 1

Method

Overview

The purpose of Experiment 1 was to test whether action goals increase the amount of

exercise performed and the number of grapes eaten. The first task was a word completion task,

described as a measure of verbal ability, which presented a set of words one word at a time. One

or two letters were missing from each presented word (e.g., U B R L L A). There were two

sets of words, either containing the action goal prime words or control prime words (Appendix

A), one of which was selected randomly by Medialab. Then, participants were given a chance to

practice a seated exercise based on a set of written instructions and sample some grapes

delivered to their computer station. Following that, participants completed a series of

questionnaires related to their diet and exercise attitudes and behaviors.

Participants and Design

We recruited 30 undergraduate students at the University of Florida to participate in the

study in exchange for credits in an introductory psychology course. A 2 (prime: action vs.

neutral) x 2 (task order: exercise first vs. eat first) between-subj ects design was employed.

Procedure

Participants in this study arrived in the lab and sat down at an empty computer station as

indicated by the research assistant. Then the research assistant started the experiment using

Medialab. Medialab prompted participants to open the manila folder next to the computer

monitor and to read and sign the enclosed informed consent sheet. After signing the informed

consent sheet and clicking continue, participants received the instructions for the first task.

Initially, participants completed a word completion task determining the letters missing from a










partial word (e.g., "_ E T W E N"). The instructions read: "First, to both familiarize you with

the computer program you will be using and to collect some information that may be used for

future studies, you will be asked to complete a series of words." Participants were then presented

with 24 total words, eitherl0 general action goal prime words and 14 neutral words (action prime

condition), or 24 neutral words (control prime condition).

Next, participants were presented with one of the two behavioral tasks in counterbalanced

random order. In keeping with the cover story, participants were presented with the following

description of the grape stimulus: "This new type of microfiber plastic container is designed to

keep food fresher for longer. You will get the opportunity to taste a food sample which has been

kept fresh in this container." The computer then prompted the participant to raise his or her hand

to alert the research assistant, who then presented the participant with a Styrofoam bowl

containing 15 red grapes.

The other target stimulus was described as follows: "You will be exposed to a typed

excerpt from an exercise video which can be performed while sitting. These exercises were

originally designed for people with mobility difficulties (e.g., pregnant women, the elderly).

Recently, however, they have been gaining popularity among those who sit at a desk for long

periods of time" (Appendix B). Before being given specific instructions for exercises,

participants were presented with the following: "To gain feedback on the exercises, you will be

practicing and rating two techniques. Sit back in your chair, take a deep breath and click continue

when you are ready."

Participants were instructed to either practice the exercise described on their screen for up

to 5 minutes or to taste as many grapes as they chose. If the first stimulus was the bowl of grapes,

the second was the exercise video passage. If the first stimulus was the exercise video passage,










the second was the bowl of grapes. Then, in keeping with the cover story, participants responded

to five-point scale items related to their experiences. These items included "I thought the

exercise was easy" and "How fresh was the product that you sampled?" (Appendix C).

The first dependent measure in this study was the total amount of time spent practicing the

exercises, which was recorded by Medialab and operationalized as the total amount of time spent

on the exercise description screen. The second dependent measure in this study was the number

of grapes eaten, which was obtained by asking participants at the very end of the experiment,

before the debriefing, "How many grapes are left in your bowl?" Research assistants also

counted the number of grapes remaining at the end of the session to verify participants'

responses.

Materials and Measures

Priming task. The priming task was introduced as a quick measure of verbal ability.

Participants were be instructed to complete 24 words with missing letters (either 24 neutral

words, or 12 neutral-control words and 10 action prime words; Appendix A). The instructions for

each word were as follows: "Please complete the word below. Simply type the completed word

into the box once you have solved it. Press ENTER afterwards." Depending on random

assignment, half of the participants received 24 incomplete neutral words unrelated to activity,

such as "tooth," "ethnic" or "square". The other half of the participants received 12 neutral

words and 10 action-related words that could be completed as "motivation," "doing,"

"behavior," "engage," "action," "make," "start," "go," and "active." These words have high

associations with "action" in the empirically derived Computerized Edinburgh Associative

Thesaurus (Kiss, Armstrong, Milroy, & Piper, 1973). They have been used successfully by

Albarracin et al. (2006).

Description of exercise task. The exercise task is described as follows:









You will be exposed to a typed excerpt from an exercise video which can be performed
while sitting. These exercises were originally designed for people with mobility difficulties
(e.g., pregnant women, the elderly). Recently, however, they have been gaining popularity
among those who sit at a desk for long periods of time. These exercises stretch and
strengthen legs, abs, and lower back. To gain feedback on the exercises, you will be
practicing and rating 2 techniques. Sit back in your chair, take a deep breath and click
continue when you are ready.

Following these instructions, participants received the specific exercise instructions. The

first set of instructions read: '"Remaining fully seated with your back against the back of the

chair, slowly extend your legs until they are fully straight, and parallel to the floor." (If you need

to move your chair back, go ahead.) "Hold this position for 10 seconds, and let your legs slowly

relax until your feet touch the floor. Repeat for 5 minutes."' Participants then performed the

exercise for as long as he or she decided, with a ceiling of 5 minutes. Medialab automatically

moved to the next screen if the participant did not click "continue" after 5 minutes on the

instruction screen. Next, participants responded to five-point scale items (with endpoints "not at

all" and "extremely") referring to the exercise they performed, including "I enjoyed performing

the exercise" and "I thought the exercise was easy" (Appendix C).

Next, participants were presented with instructions for the second exercise: "Remaining

fully seated with your back against the back of the chair, place your feet on the floor. Lift your

toes off of the ground, and keeping your heels on the ground, lean back in your seat until the two

front legs of the chair are off the ground. Hold this position for 10 seconds (you should feel

tension in your calves and shins). Let your legs slowly relax until your feet touch the floor.

Repeat for 5 minutes." After clicking "continue," participants completed the same set of

questions as after the first exercise.

Description of eating task. In keeping with the cover story, participants read the

following instructions before receiving a sample of grapes: "FRESH SEAL CONTAINTER: This

new type of microfiber plastic container is designed to keep food fresher for longer. You will get










the opportunity to taste a food sample which has been kept fresh in this container." Then

participants were instructed to "taste the sample, and pay attention to its taste, consistency and

freshness. You may eat as much of the sample as you wish." After participants click "continue,"

they are presented with Hyve-point scale items about the sample (with endpoints "not at all" and

"extremely"), including "I enjoyed the consistency of the sample" and "How fresh was the

product that you sampled?"

Data analysis. All tests of significance were performed using SPSS. All p-values below

.05 were considered significant, and all p-values ranging from .05-.08 were considered marginal.

Results

To measure the effects of a general action goal prime on eating a 2 (action goal vs. control)

x 2 (snack before exercise vs. exercise before snack) ANOVA was used. There was a main effect

of general action goal primes on the number of grapes eaten: Those who received the general

action goal prime ate more grapes than those who received the control prime (M~s = 11.6 and 9.2,

respectively), F (1, 29) = 5.04, p < .05. There was also a main effect of order, by which

participants who exercised first ate more grapes (M~= 11.9, SD = 4.3) than those who got to eat

first (M~= 8.9, SD = 6.0), F (1, 29) = 7.00, p < .05. However, these main effects were qualified by

a prime x order interaction, F (1, 29) = 5.45, p < .05.

Investigating the interaction, there are two potentially meaningful simple effects. First, for

the control group only, there is a significant effect of order, F (1, 27) = 4.89, p < .05, indicating

that unprimed participants ate more grapes if they exercised first (M~= 12.0, SD = 4.58) than if

they ate first (M~= 2.67, SD = 1.53). There was also a marginally significant simple effect of

prime type [F (1, 27) = 3.13, p = .088] by which participants who ate before exercising ate more

when exposed to the general action goal primes (M = 11.25, SD = 5.26) than when exposed to

the control primes (M~= 2.67, SD = 1.53). Participants in the action prime condition who









exercised first ate a mean 11.83 grapes (SD = 4.37). This suggests that under normal

circumstances, people may eat more after exercising than before exercising. This also suggests

that a general action goal prime is more effective at increasing appetitive behavior when the

prime immediately precedes it.

Participants who received a general action goal prime did not enj oy the exercise task more

or less than those who received a control prime (M~s = 5.0 and 5.2 respectively), F (1, 29) = .072,

p > .05. Therefore, exercise enj oyment was used as a covariate in each analysis of exercise. An

ANOVA investigating total exercise time as a function of prime and task order found a main

effect of prime type (F (1, 24) = 3.67, p < .05). The mean exercise time for those in the action

prime condition was 210.81 seconds (SD = 180.77), and for those in the control prime condition,

the mean exercise time was 1 14. 1 seconds (SD = 54.54). There was no main effect of task order

on total exercise time (F (1, 25) = 0.47, p > .05), and the interaction term was not significant (F;

(1, 25) = 0.87, p > .05).

Discussion

The data suggest that eating behaviors were increased by a general action goal, supporting

Hypothesis 1. Further, the data suggest that participants who are given an action prime increase

the number of grapes they choose to eat, but only when the eating task immediately follows the

prime. This may be due to a satisfaction of the general action goal state through exercising. This

effect was marginally significant and should therefore be interpreted cautiously. There was also a

simple effect of order, by which control participants ate more grapes when they were given the

opportunity to eat after exercising than before exercising. Participants were unaware of the

second task while completing the first; therefore this cannot be the result of deliberately

monitoring caloric consumption. Although some researchers have found evidence that suggests

humans increase their intake of calories after increasing energy expenditure (Stubbs, et al.,










2002), a review by Blundell and King (1999) suggests that this effect is generally weak to

nonexi stent

As additional support for Hypothesis 1, participants who received a general action goal

prime spent more time performing the exercise task than those who were primed with control

words, suggesting that exercise is susceptible to general goals to become active. It is possible

that since exercise is more physically laborious than eating, it is more effective at satisfying the

general action goal. However, exercising may satisfy the general action goal on its own, and

therefore when exercise precedes eating, the general action goal is ineffective at increasing

eating.

Although no participants reported an awareness of the true nature of the study, there is still

a chance that participants became aware of a theme in the words presented in the supraliminal

word completion task. Therefore, in Experiment 2, subliminal primes were used, disguised as

part of a hand-eye coordination reaction time task. Also, despite success with grapes as a food

stimulus, they are not necessarily the best representation of the temptations that befall a dieter

trying to lose weight by adopting a general action goal. Instead, Experiment 2 used small

chocolate chip cookies.









CHAPTER 3
EXPERIMENT 2

Method

Overview

In Experiment 2, an attempt was made to address three issues remaining from Experiment

1. First, subliminal primes were used instead of a word completion task, in order to negate

potential experimenter expectancy effects that could result from becoming aware of the prime.

The words presented in the subliminal priming task were identical to the words presented in the

word completion task. Second, a less healthy food stimulus was used (small chocolate chip

cookies instead of grapes) to test whether general action goals increase the consumption of foods

detrimental to weight loss goals. Third, to minimize potential carryover effects, participants only

completed one task, either exercising or eating as part of the product evaluation task

Participants and Design

We recruited 50 undergraduate students at the University of Florida to participate in the

study in exchange for credits in an introductory psychology course. A 2-factor (prime: action vs.

neutral) between-subj ects design was employed.

Procedure

Participants in this study arrived in the lab and sit at an empty computer station as

indicated by the research assistant. Then the research assistants began the experiment by opening

the appropriate file and entering the condition in Medialab. After reading and signing the

enclosed informed consent sheet, participants received the instructions for the first task. Initially,

participants completed an ostensible hand-eye coordination task, in which they were presented

with eight action words (Appendix A) and eight neutral words presented in random order. To

ensure that the words were presented subliminally, they were presented for 15 milliseconds each,










preceded by a flash of symbols (forward masking). Following the presentation of each word, a

string of X' s was flashed onscreen to prevent the word from being visible as an afterimage (back

masking). The string of X' s remained onscreen until participants pressed the space bar, and after

100 ms, the next word randomly chosen word was presented.

Next, participants were presented with one of the two behavioral tasks, as determined by

random assignment. To maintain the cover story, participants read the following description of

the cookie stimulus: "This new type of microfiber plastic container is designed to keep food

fresher for longer. You will get the opportunity to taste a food sample which has been kept fresh

in this container." The computer then prompted participants to raise their hand to alert the

research assistant, who delivered a Styrofoam bowl containing 25 small chocolate chip cookies

to the participant' s computer station.

The exercise video task was described as follows: "You will be exposed to a typed excerpt

from an exercise video which can be performed while sitting. These exercises were originally

designed for people with mobility difficulties (e.g., pregnant women, the elderly). Recently,

however, they have been gaining popularity among those who sit at a desk for long periods of

time" (Appendix B). Following this explanation, participants then read a description of a seated

exercise, and they were told to practice the exercise as long as they wanted. In keeping with the

cover story, participants responded to five-point scale items related to the exercise, and

performed a second, very similar exercise.

This study had two main dependent measures: First, the amount of time spent practicing

the exerci ses--operationalized as the total amount of time spent on the exercise description

screen was recorded to the millisecond by Medialab. The second dependent measure was the

number of cookies eaten, which was obtained by directly asking participants, before the










debriefing, "How many cookies are left in your bowl?" Honesty of responding was verified by

research assistants.

Results

First, an independent samples t-test was used to test, among participants who were

randomly assigned to the eating condition, whether there was an effect of a general action goal

prime on the number of cookies eaten. However, there was no difference between the groups;

both groups ate an average of 13.6 cookies [t (42) = .004, p > .05].

There was no overall effect of action goals on total exercise [t (48) = 1.504, p > .05],

although the mean number of total seconds spent exercising for participants who received an

action goal prime versus a control prime was 96.92 s (SD = 81.05) and 67.22 s (SD = 56.41),

respectively.

A t-test comparing an action goal prime to a control prime for just the first exercise found

no difference between the groups, t (48) = .915, p > .05. A t-test comparing the second exercise

of those who received an action goal prime and those who received a control prime found a

marginally significant difference between the groups, t (48) = 1.816, p = .076.

Discussion

There was no effect of prime on cookie consumption. This could be that subliminal primes

are slightly weaker than subtle supraliminal primes. It is also possible that cookies are clearly

less healthy, and therefore participants are simply less willing to eat them. This is supported by

the proportions of food eaten: In Experiment 1, participants in all conditions ate an average of

10.8 grapes out a given 15, whereas in Experiment 2, the grand mean was 13.6 out of a possible

25. If participants would not eat cookies as freely as grapes, it is possible that a more subtly

healthy food would be more sensitive than an obviously unhealthy food.










In terms of exercise, although the means of exercise time follow a trend that supports the

hypothesis that general action goals increase exercise, only the second exercise shows an effect

of prime, and the effect is marginal. This is likely due to the large variance in exercise times

within both the action and control group. Power may need to be greater for the effects of these

subliminal primes to be detectable.









CHAPTER 4
EXPERIMENT 3

Method

Overview

The third experiment was aimed to test three hypotheses. Hypothesis 2 predicted that

specific goals alone would be more effective than general action goals at increasing target

behaviors. Also, the simultaneous presentation of specific and general action goal primes could

either restrict the effects of the general action goal to target domains (Hypothesis 3) or could

result in the general action goal overriding the specific goal (Hypothesis 4). The procedure and

materials used in Experiment 3 were similar to those used in Experiments 1 and 2. However, the

subliminal priming task contained a second set of words (exercise prime words, such as

"aerobic," "exercise" and "sweat" vs. indulge prime words, such as "feast," "indulge" and

"snack") which were inserted into the priming task (Appendix A).

As in Experiment 2, participants began with the subliminal priming task described as a

measure of hand-eye coordination. In this task, there were four possible sets of prime words

grouped into two categories; action vs. control, and exercise vs. indulge vs. control. These

categories were crossed to create 6 different combinations of general and specific prime word.

Participants were randomly assigned to one of these 6 combinations of prime words, and within

each combination, the words were combined in random order as a single subliminal word

presentation task (ostensibly measuring reaction time). Participants were then given a chance to

practice an exercise and sample some yogurt raisins from a bowl at their computer station, in

random counterbalanced order. Following that, participants completed a brief questionnaire

related to the eating and exercise tasks.










Participants and Design

We recruited 165 undergraduate students at the University of Florida to participate in the

study in exchange for credits in an introductory psychology course. A 2 (general goal prime:

action vs. control) x 3 (specific goal prime: diet vs. indulge vs. control) between-subjects design

was employed.

Snacking Stimulus

Yogurt raisins were used to measure food consumption. Sun-Maid yogurt raisins, although

containing fiber and protein, are made with palm kernel oil, and are therefore high in saturated

fat (4 grams per serving; 21% of one's daily RDA). Using a less obviously unhealthy stimulus as

measure of eating is likely to be more successful as a measure of snacking behavior, as

participants should not resist the temptation of yogurt raisins quite as much as chocolate chip

cookies.

Procedure

After being checked in by a research assistant and being seated at an available computer,

participants were given onscreen prompts to sign the informed consent sheet, followed by a

description of the ostensible hand-eye coordination reaction time task. Following the disguised

priming task, participants read a description of one of the two target stimuli, either a sample of

yogurt raisins, ostensibly intended to assess the effectiveness of a particular storage container, or

two exercises ostensibly testing the effectiveness of a new exercise video. Participants were

instructed either to practice the exercise on the screen or to taste the cookies (counterbalanced

randomly by Medialab), and were then presented with some scale questions about their opinions

of the products. Following these, the second stimulus was presented. If the first stimulus was the

passage from the exercise video, the second was the sample of yogurt raisins, and vice versa.









The first dependent measure in this experiment was the amount of time spent performing

the two exercises, for up to 5 minutes each; participants were given the opportunity to click

"continue," ending the exercise trial, whenever they choose. The second dependent measure was

the self-reported number of yogurt raisins remaining in the bowl, ranging from zero to 15.

Consistent with the previous two studies, this number was verified by a research assistant.

Participants then signed the debriefing form and were thanked for their participation.

Results

An ANOVA was used to test for main effects of action prime [F (1, 153) = 1.289, p > .05.]

or specific prime [F (1, 153) = 0.424, p > .05.] on snack consumption (Table 4-1).

A test of planned comparisons revealed some significant differences between participants

in the six conditions of the study. Participants who received an exercise/control prime set ate

fewer yogurt raisins (M~= 5.79) than participants who received an indulge/control prime set (M~=

8.6); t (159) = -1.19, p < .05. There was also a marginal difference between the control/control

group and the indulge/control group: Indulge/control participants ate more yogurt raisins (M~=

8.6) than control/control participants (M~= 6.03), t (159) = -1.764, p = .08.

The most critical comparison looked at the difference between a specific goal by itself

(indulge/control) and in combination with a general action goal (indulge/action). A planned

comparison revealed that participants who received the indulge/control prime set ate more yogurt

raisins (M~= 8.6) than participants who received the indulge/action prime set (M~= 5.21); t (159)

= 2.29, p < .05. This lends support to Hypothesis 4, to the detriment of Hypotheses 3 and 5. No

other comparisons were significant.

Investigating the effects of the two sets of primes on exercise, ANOVA was used. There

were no main effects of action prime [F (1, 149) = 0.006, p > .05] or of specific prime [F (1,

149) = 2.033, p > .05] on total exercise time (Table 4-2). However, a test of planned comparisons









revealed two marginally significant differences. First, in support of Hypothesis 2, participants

who received an exercise/control prime set spent longer exercising than participants who

received a control/control prime set [M~s = 184.3 s and 121.16 s respectively; t (149) = -1.937, p

< .06]. As further support of the disruptive effect of a general action goal being added to a

specific goal (Hypothesis 4), participants in the exercise/control condition(M~= 184.3 s)

exercised longer than participants in the exercise/action condition (M~= 123.23 s); t (149) = -

1.907, p <.06.

Discussion

Although there were no main effects of general action goal primes or specific primes, the

patterns of results, including the significant simple main effect, suggest that specific goal primes

are better than general action goal primes at increasing the targeted behavior (Hypothesis 2).

However, when general action goal primes were presented simultaneously with the specific goal

primes, the specific goal primes were no longer effective, supporting Hypothesis 4. There was no

support for Hypothesis 3, which predicted that specific goals combined with action goals would

be as effective (or more effective) than specific goals on their own.









CHAPTER 5
GENERAL DISCUSSION

General action goals can lead to the expression of a number of behaviors, but they do so

indiscriminately. Although a subliminal, specific goal to exercise or eat modifies these behaviors

effectively, a general action goal does not limit the effects of the general action goal to the target

domain.

These results suggest that action goals should not be adopted for the purpose of reaching a

specific goal, such as losing weight. Health interventions should promote specific goals for

weight loss and exercise and not just encourage overall increases in activity, because these

increases may be in the wrong domains. Additionally, individuals who chronically have action

goals activated (either because of a naturally manic disposition or because of an adjustment to a

fast-moving social environment) should beware of the potentially disruptive effects of such

goals. Based on our previous findings about the effects of inaction goals, adopting goals to relax

or meditate could diminish the disruptive effects of chronically activated general action goals.

Limitations and future directions. The main limitation of these studies is the noisy

nature of the behavioral dependent variables. Although most of the means were ranked exactly as

predicted, the error variances for exercise task time and amount of snacks eaten was quite large.

In the future, a different measure of exercise may improve upon this limitation. For example, a

minimum amount of exercise a participant is required to perform would prevent any extremely

low exercise times. Also, effort was operationalized as the amount of time spent on the exercise

task, but there is a chance that some individuals exerted a great deal of effort in the exercises

over a short period and quickly became tired. Others may have calmly and evenly performed the

exercises for a longer period. Such individual differences would be influenced by beliefs about

how exercise should be performed, and by past experiences with exercise. Temporal construal










also varies between individuals; some people perceive time differently, and despite exerting

equal effort, do so for different times. For these reasons, a more precise and direct measure of

physical effort, such as a hang-grip sensor, may be more sensitive to the effects of a general

action goal prime.

The measure of eating may also be sensitive to individual differences in task performance.

Perhaps some participants ate fewer grapes but spent a great deal of effort determining how juicy

or fresh they were. Since the cover story maintained that the exposure to exercise and snacks was

part of a product evaluation task, one participant may have felt that eating a single grape was

enough to evaluate the quality of the container, whereas another needed to eat 10 grapes to

satisfy the same goal. More generally, cognitively evaluating the products may have led to the

satisfaction of the general action goal before the opportunity to eat or exercise even began. In the

future, this could be addressed by giving participants a snack as a reward for completion of a

bogus task, and then measuring the amount of the snack that is eaten.

In order to apply these findings to health interventions, it would be necessary to study

longitudinally whether the adoption of general action goals is more or less effective than specific

goals at predicting exercise. Such studies could measure whether people naturally adopt general

action goals in order to lose weight, and if recommending general action goals leads to increases

in undesired behavior unrelated to exercise.










Table 4-1. Food consumption as a function of prime: Number of yogurt raisins eaten across
general prime and specific prime
Indulge Exercise Control

Action 5.04 5.35 6.58

Control 8.33 5.56 6.12


Table 4-2. Exercise performance as a function of prime: Number of seconds spent exercising,
crossing general prime and specific prime
Indulge Exercise Control

Action 170.01 151.25 123.23

Control 134.77 184.3 121.16










APPENDIX A
PRIME WORD LISTS


Action goal prime words:

1. MOTIVATION

2. DOING

3. BEHAVIOR

4. GO

5. ACTIVE

6. MAKE

7. ENGAGE

8. ACTION




Exercise goal prime words:

1. EXERCISE


SWEAT

GYM


RUN

AEROBIC

FITNESS

MUSCLE

SPORTS


Indulge goal prime words:

1. INDUGLE

2. FEAST










3. SNACK

4. TASTE

5. SPLURGE

6. ENJOY

7. OVEREAT

8. TREAT




Neutral goal prime words:

1. UMBRELLA

2. RING

3. ELEVATOR

4. ANT

5. JEANS

6. TANK

7. GAUGE

8. PENGUIN









APPENDIX B
SCRIPTS FOR EXERCISES

"Now you will be sampling two products. The first product is EXERCISE TAPE #1.

You will be exposed to a typed excerpt from an exercise video which can be performed

while sitting. These exercises were originally designed for people with mobility difficulties (e.g.,

pregnant women, the elderly). Recently, however, they have been gaining popularity among

those who sit at a desk for long periods of time. These exercises stretch and strengthen legs, abs,

and lower back.

To gain feedback on the exercises, you will be practicing and rating 2 techniques. Sit back

in your chair, take a deep breath, and click continue when you are ready."

"Exercise A: 'Remaining fully seated with your back against the back of the chair, slowly

extend your legs until they are fully straight, and parallel to the floor.' (If you need to move your

chair back, go ahead.)

'Hold this position for 10 seconds, and let your legs slowly relax until your feet touch the

floor. Repeat for 5 minutes.'

Please practice this exercise. Once you are finished, click continue to begin answering

questions about your experience."

"Exercise B: 'Remaining fully seated with your back against the back of the chair, place

your feet on the floor. Lift your toes off of the ground, and keeping your heels on the ground,

lean back in your seat until the two front legs of the chair are off the ground.

Hold this position for 10 seconds (you should feel tension in your calves and shins). Let

your legs slowly relax until your feet touch the floor. Repeat for 5 minutes.'

"Please practice this exercise. Once you are finished, click continue to begin answering

questions about your experience."










LIST OF REFERENCES


Aarts, H., Chartrand, T. L., Custers, R., Danner, U., Dik, G., Jefferis, V. E., & Cheng, C. M.
(2005). Social stereotypes and automatic goal pursuit. Social Cognition, 23, 465-490.

Albarracin, D., Handley, I. M., Noguchi, K., McCulloch, K. C., Li, H., Leeper, J. H., & Earl, A.
(2006). Energizing and Deenergizing Overt Behaviors and Cognitive Procedures: A M~odel
of SociallIncitation of General Action andlnaction Goals. Unpublished manuscript:
University of Florida, Gainesville.

Blair, S. N., Kohl, H. W., III, Paffenbarger, R. S., Jr., Clark, D. G., Cooper, K. H., & Gibbons, L.
W. (1989). Physical fitness and all-cause mortality. A prospective study of healthy men
and women. JAM~A, 262, 2395-2401.

Blundell, J. E., & King, N. A. (1999). Physical activity and regulation of food intake: Current
evidence. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 31, 573-583.

Costa, D. L. (2000). The Wage and the Length of the Work Day: From the 1890s to 1991.
Journal of Labor Economics, 18, 156-8 1.

Craik, F. I., & Tulving, E. (1975). Depth of processing and the retention of words in episodic
memory. Journal ofExperintental Psychology, 104, 268-294.

Critser, G. (2003). Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World. Boston:
Houghton Mifflin Company.

Forster, J., Liberman, N., & Higgins, E. T. (2005). Accessibility from active and fulfilled goals.
Journal ofExperintental Social Psychology, 41, 220-239.

Gleick, J. (2000). Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything. New York: Random
House.

Grodstein, F., Levine, R., Spencer, T., Colditz, G.A., & Stampfer, M. J. (1996). Three-year
follow-up of participants in a commercial weight loss program: can you keep it off!
Archives ofhiternal2\~edicine, 156, 1302-1306.

International Olympic Committee, (n.d.). Olympic Records. Retrieved August 28, 2006, from
http://www. olympi c. org/uk/utilitie s/reports/l evel2_uk. asp?HEAD2= 10&HEAD 1=5

Kiss, G.R., Armstrong, C., Milroy, R., & Piper, J. (1973). An associative thesaurus of English
and its computer analysis. In Aitken, A.J., Bailey, R.W. and Hamilton-Smith, N. (Eds.),
The Computer and literary studies. Edinburgh: University Press.

Kruglanski, A.W. (1996). Motivated social cognition: Principles of the interface. In E.T. Higgins
& A.W. Kruglanski (Eds.), Social psychology: Handbook of basic principles (pp. 493-
520). New York: Guilford Press.










Lassiter, G. D., Geers, A. L., & Apple, K. J. (2002). Communication set and the perception of
ongoing behavior. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28, 158-171.

Latham, G. P., & Yukl, G. A. (1975). Assigned versus participative goal setting with educated
and uneducated woods workers. Journal ofAppliedPsychology, 60, 299-302.

Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. (1990). A Theory of Goal Setting and Task Perfornzance.
Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Maine, M. (2000). Body Wars: Making Peace 0I ithr Wonten 's Bodies. Carlsbad, CA: Giirze
Books .

Mento, A. J., Steel, R. P., & Karren, R. J. (1987). A meta-analytic study of the effects of goal
setting on task performance: 1966-1984. Organizational Behavior and H~uman Decision
Processes, 39, 52-83.

Nisbett, R. E. (1972). Hunger, obesity, and the ventromedial hypothalamus. Psychological
Review, 79, 433-453.

Norcross, J. C., Mrykalo, M. S., & Blagys, M. D. (2002). Auld lang syne: Success predictors,
change processes, and self-reported outcomes of New Year's resolvers and nonresolvers.
Journal of Clinical Psychology, 58, 397-405.

OECD, (2005). OECD Broadband Statistics to December 2006. Retrieved March 2, 2006, from
http://www. oec d. org/sti/i ct/b roadb and

President' s Challenge Physical Activity and Fitness Rewards Program, (n.d.). You 're it. Get Fit!
Retrieved March 2, 2006, from
http:.//www.Pre si dentschall enge .org

Stubbs, R. J., Sepp, A., Hughes, D. A., Johnstone, A. M., King, N., Horgan, G., & Blundell, J. E.
(2002). The effect of graded levels of exercise on energy intake and balance in free-living
women. International Journal of Obesity, 26, 866-869.

Weinberg, R., Bruya, L., & Jackson, A. (1985). The effects of goal proximity and goal
specificity on endurance performance. Journal of Sport Psychology, 7, 296-305.

Zeigarnik, B. (1927). Das Behalten erledigter und unerlidigter Handlungen. Psychologische
Forschung, 9, 1-85.









BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Josh Leeper received his bachelor' s degree is psychology from the University of Florida in

May 2004. After working as lab manager for Dr. Dolores Albarracin, Josh entered the graduate

social psychology program at the University of Florida in the Psychology Department in fall

2005 and graduated in fall 2007.





PAGE 1

1 GET ACTIVE (BUT GET SNACKING): UNDES IRABLE EFFECTS OF ACTION GOALS ON DIET AND EXERCISE By JOSHUA LEEPER A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2007

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2 2007 Joshua Leeper

PAGE 3

3 To my friends and family

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I thank Dr. Dolores Albarracin for her patien ce and commitment to my project. I would like thank my fellow grad students for their advi ce and feedback on my presentations. I also thank the research assistants in the Albarra cin lab for keeping our computer lab running smoothly and ensuring that da ta collection is on track.

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5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................4 LIST OF TABLES................................................................................................................. ..........7 ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................... ..............8 CHAPTER 1 GET ACTIVE (BUT GET SNACKING): UNDESIRABLE EFFECTS OF ACTION GOALS ON DIET AND EXERCISE......................................................................................9 Introduction................................................................................................................... ............9 General Action Goals......................................................................................................10 Negative Effects of General Action Goals......................................................................13 Simultaneous Activation of Speci fic and General Action Goals....................................15 2 EXPERIMENT 1................................................................................................................... .19 Method......................................................................................................................... ...........19 Overview....................................................................................................................... ..19 Participants and Design...................................................................................................19 Procedure...................................................................................................................... ...19 Materials and Measures...................................................................................................21 Results........................................................................................................................ .............23 Discussion..................................................................................................................... ..........24 3 EXPERIMENT 2................................................................................................................... .26 Method......................................................................................................................... ...........26 Overview....................................................................................................................... ..26 Participants and Design...................................................................................................26 Procedure...................................................................................................................... ...26 Results........................................................................................................................ .............28 Discussion..................................................................................................................... ..........28 4 EXPERIMENT 3................................................................................................................... .30 Method......................................................................................................................... ...........30 Overview....................................................................................................................... ..30 Participants and Design...................................................................................................31 Snacking Stimulus............................................................................................................31 Procedure...................................................................................................................... ...31 Results........................................................................................................................ .............32 Discussion..................................................................................................................... ..........33

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6 5 GENERAL DISCUSSION.....................................................................................................34 APPENDIX A PRIME WORD LISTS...........................................................................................................37 B SCRIPTS FOR EXERCISES.................................................................................................39 LIST OF REFERENCES............................................................................................................. ..40 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.........................................................................................................42

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7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 4-1 Food consumption as a function of prim e: Number of yogurt raisins eaten across general prime and specific prime.......................................................................................36 4-2 Exercise performance as a function of pr ime: Number of seconds spent exercising, crossing general prime and specific prime.........................................................................36

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8 Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science GET ACTIVE (BUT GET SNACKING): UNDES IRABLE EFFECTS OF ACTION GOALS ON DIET AND EXERCISE By Joshua H. Leeper December 2007 Chair: Dolores Albarracin Major: Psychology Recent experiments have revealed that exposur e to general action goal primes increases the expression of a variety of subsequent behavior s, including folding pape r, studying a passage and clicking a mouse (Albarracin et al., 2006). The e ffect of general action goals on both diet and exercise behaviors were investigated in three studies. Experi ment 1 used a word-completionpriming paradigm followed by an opportunity to consume food and exercise. There was a main effect of prime on both eating and exercising. In Experiment 2, goals were primed sublimina lly, and there was a marginal effect of prime on the second exercise in the pair. In Experiment 3, specific primes to exercise or indulge were presented alone or with action goal s. Data suggest that specific primes are effective on their own, because they increased eating a nd exercising relative to controls yet when added to general action goals, were not at all effectiv e at increasing the target behaviors.

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9 CHAPTER 1 GET ACTIVE (BUT GET SNACKING): UNDES IRABLE EFFECTS OF ACTION GOALS ON DIET AND EXERCISE Introduction Levels of activity vary across cultures, indivi duals, and situations. Industrialized nations-especially the U. S.--have seen vast increases in le vels of activity in the pa st century, as reflected in internet use, working hours, athletic perf ormance, and caffeine consumption (Costa, 2000; Gleick, 2000; OECD, 2005; International Olympi c Committee, n.d.). Such increases may lead to a larger desire to be active which may spill over into other activities. For example, a stock broker accustomed to a fast pace of working may have difficulty slowing down or relaxing after arriving home from work. The lingering, general goal to be active could manifest itself in a variety of positive ways, from taking the dog for a walk to cleaning the garage. However, the general goal to be active could also manifest itself in undesirable ways, from compulsively checking e-mail to raiding the pantry. To understand these potential effects, one coul d think of the general motivation to perform an effortful, energy-demanding goa l-directed event as a general action goal (Albarracin et al.., 2006). General action goals have the end state of action and ma y stimulate the initiation or continuation of a variety of behaviors. They are necessary to perform desired behaviors, such as doing homework, volunteering in the community, or mowing the lawn. However, such general action goals--not being a ttached to any single activity--may also stimulate trivial behaviors, such as fidgeting and tapping ones foot. Even worse, th ey may also yield detrimental behaviors, such as honking at other cars in traffic, sho pping online excessively or losing sleep. The present thesis examined whether activating general action goals jointly influences beneficial behaviors--exercise in this case--and detrimental beha viors, such as overeating. An intervention designed to increas e physical activity may promote the goal of being active. Of

PAGE 10

10 course, one can expect that a general action goal instilled by this program will increase exercise which will ultimately lead to health benefits, including weight loss and improved cardiovascular health. However, being active may be too gene ral a goal. Overeating, for example, is another activity likely to satisfy a general goal to be active. Hence, unless one can prevent the goal from affecting eating habits, such a goal could end up sabotaging an attempt to lose weight. This thesis addressed one poten tially detrimental effect of general action goals: unwanted generalization of general action goa ls to irrelevant or maladaptiv e behaviors. It also addressed the potential effects of simultaneously priming a sp ecific behavioral goal in addition to a general action goal. According to the firs t hypothesis, setting general acti on goals can lead to increased exercise and increased eating. Second, the combina tion of specific behavioral goal with a general action goal could have three poten tial effects: a specific goal ma y limit the application of the general action goal to specific beha viors, a specific goal could ove rpower the general action goal and conversely, the general action goal could overpower the specific goal. Briefly, in the first study, we tested whether general acti on goals generalize to either exercise or eating by exposing participants to action goal primes and allowing them to eat and exercise. In the second study, we tested the eff ects of subliminal general action goal primes on the same behavioral dependent variables. In th e third study, subliminal action goal primes were presented in combination with more specific goa l primes related to eating or to exercise. General Action Goals General action goals, like other goals, can be primed through exposure to words--such as action, go, start and doing --presented as part a word completion or subliminal word presentation task (Albarracin et al., 2006). There is evidence to suggest that these general goals affect almost any behavior. In a study by Albarra cin et al. (2006), partic ipants presented with general action goal primes were more likely to c hoose to fold a paper airplane or doodle on scrap

PAGE 11

11 paper than sit quietly. By contra st, participants presented with a set of neutral words (hereafter referred to as a control prime) were more likely to choose to rest than ei ther fold or doodle on a piece of paper. Thus, general act ion goal priming yielded a relati vely trivial motor behavior instead of motor rest. In other studies, priming general action goals stim ulated engagement of various cognitive behaviors. In Albarracin and colleagues (2006) Experiment 2, participants were primed with either action, inaction, or a neutral-word control using a word completion paradigm. Then participants watched a video of a male student performing mundane activities in his dorm, such as sipping a drink and checking e-mail. Participants were asked to press the spacebar each time the student in the video e ngaged in a meaningful event (a paradigm developed by Lassiter, Geers, & Apple, 2002) The spacebar-pressing behavior measured in Experiment 2 has been shown to increase in previous studies when participants exert cognitive effort. In the action prime study, the action primes stimulated higher coun ts than the neutralcontrol primes. Thus, the results may imply more cognitive activity in the action prime conditions than in the neutral condition. In another test of the cognitive effects of ge neral action goals using a subliminal priming procedure (Experiment 4), participants were as ked to read and think about a written passage. After reading about evolutionary perspectives on food-sharing, they were then asked openand closed-ended questions to assess how accurately th ey recalled the material Recall is a measure of memory encoding (e.g., semantic or phonemi c), and depends on how effortfully people process what they read (Craik & Tulving, 1975). As predicted, recipients of general action goal primes recalled the material more accurately and gave more elaborated answers than recipients of control primes.

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12 There has also been a study confirming that th e effects of general action primes on various measures are due to the activati on of these goals (Albarracn et al., 2006: Experiment 5). As in the other studies, participants performed a word completion task that primed them with action, inaction (e.g., freeze, pause, relax), or ne utral words. After this task, half of the participants were allowed to freely satisfy their action goals by completing a series of math and verbal problems or by doing nothing. These partic ipants then completed a lexical decision task, which included both action and neutral words. The other half of the participants completed the same lexical decision task without a prior opport unity to satisfy their action goals. Consistent with past research on goal sa tisfaction (Zeigarnik, 1927), when there was no opportunity to satisfy the general action goal, the LDT revealed greater activation of action words than of inaction words. In contrast, participants who were given an opportunity to satisfy their general action goal did not respond faster to action words than inaction words. These findings suggest that satisfying the general action goal deac tivates the corresponding semantic mental representation that is associ ated with the goal (Forster Liberman, & Higgins, 2005). In sum, past research on general action goals suggested that these goals can increase the likelihood or intensity of both physical and cogni tive behaviors. This pa st research, however, only investigated these effects on mildly desira ble or trivial behavior s such as reading for comprehension or folding a paper plane. Alt hough not addressed direct ly in the past, the generalizability of general action goals suggests that the effects of these goals are not limited to increases in positive or innocuous behavior; the expression of negative behaviors may be increased as well. The primary goal of this thesis was to determine whether general action goals can lead to the increased expres sion of both positive and negative behaviors in the same context (exercising and snacking, respectivel y). The secondary goal of this th esis was to test whether the

PAGE 13

13 addition of a second goal limits the effects of the general action goal to either positive or negative target behaviors (exercising or snack ing), or whether the general action goal is overpowered by the specific goal or vice versa. Negative Effects of General Action Goals In the United States, weight loss has become an important goal. Americans spend over $50 billion on diet-related products ea ch year (Maine, 2000). Year afte r year, Americans cite weight loss as their number one New Years resolution (Norcross, Mrykalo, & Blagys, 2002). Despite the intention and effort to lose weight, 95% of dieters regain their lost weight in 1-5 years (Grodstein, 1996). To lose weight dieters must increase energy expenditure relative to caloric intake, either through dieting or greater physical activity (Blair et al., 1989). Due to the difficulty of dieting and the desire not to discourage the sedentary a nd obese, many weight-loss and general health-promoting campaigns focus simp ly on increasing activity level (Critser, 2003). These programs, however, are framed in ways th at may instill general action goals rather than exclusively exercise goals. For example, the Pr esidents Council on Physi cal Fitness has been promoting the Keep America Moving campaign for 50 years. This program encourages all Americans to make being active pa rt of their everyday lives (P residents Challenge Physical Activity and Fitness Rewards Program, n.d.). Encourag ing activity in the most general sense, an excerpt from the program reads: No matter what your activity and fitness level, the President's Challenge can help motivate you to improve. Importantly, the potential irony of the Keep America Moving approach is that telling people to be active may be counteracting attemp ts to lose weight. There are at least two reasons for this prediction. First, such an app eal may not instill a specif ic enough goal to exercise because the goal is too general. For example, wo odcutters sent into the forest after receiving a specific and challenging goal (cutti ng down more trees than can be cut down through the normal

PAGE 14

14 amount of effort) exhibited higher productivity than those given specific, modest goals, as well as vague, challenging goals (e.g., do your best) (Latham & Yukl, 1975). This relative increase in performance is attributed to an increase in woodcutters self-efficacy as a result of clearer standards of progress against wh ich to regulate behavior (Locke & Latham, 1990). If the Keep America Moving types of appeal s instill vague action goals, thes e goals may be satisfied with little activity because of the lack of precise standards (e.g., how much to move, what to do, etc.). Spending 10 minutes performing warm-up exercises may satisfy such a vague action goal, but it should not satisfy a specific goal to get 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise. Second, based on past research on general acti on goals, these appeals may have unintended deleterious effects. If a general action goal can be satisfied by folding a piece of paper, counting behaviors in a video, or deeply processing a written passage, th is same goal could likely be satisfied by eating chocolates or spending money at the mall. These predictions follow the principle that a goal can be sati sfied through a variety of means (i.e., equifinality; Kruglanski, 1996). A general action goal has a very large set of satisfaction m eans, including going swimming, baking cookies, or or ganizing ones sock drawer. A lthough general action goals are often adopted as a means to lose weight, the pr ocess of changing into gym clothes, hunting for ones car keys and filling a bot tle of water may be enough to satisfy the general action goal without actually going to the gym. Both of these lines of research converge on the prediction that general goals should be less effective than specific goals at initiating a specific target behavior. However, this is only the case when adopting a specific goal to exercise instead of adopting a general acti on goal to obtain the same means (i.e. being p hysically fit). This is in contrast to simultaneously adopting both goals, although that may also occur. For example, a person may glance acro ss a rack of fitness

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15 magazines and activate both the goal to exercise and the general goal to in crease ones level of activity. Also, for individuals who have chro nically activated general action goals--manic individuals for example--a specific goal to be active would often be activated simultaneously with the general goal to be active. Therefore, it is necessary to investigate the simultaneous effect of general and specific goals to be active. Simultaneous Activation of Speci fic and General Action Goals Like general action goals, more specific action goals, such as the goal to go for a run, can be satisfied by multiple means (Kruglanski, 1996). One may go jogging, run on the treadmill at the gym, or play soccer. Nonetheless, the rang e of means to satisfy a specific goal is much narrower than that of a genera l action goal. For example, the goal to run should exclude such means as ordering a pizza, snacking on readily a ccessible foods, or sitting on the couch to watch television. Likewise, a goal to run for 90 mi nutes should exclude taking a 15-minute run. By establishing specific goals, specific goals can be targeted without worry of spillover into completely unrelated domains. As suggested by research on goal specificity (Locke & Latham, 1990; Latham & Yukl 1975), specific action goals, such as the goal to play a game of basketball, should not be prematurely satisfied by a lesse r activity (e.g., dribbling a ba sketball). Research on goal specificity in the domain of physical performan ce suggests that specific longand short-term goals are more effective than general do your best goals, even when participants given specific goals also adopt the general do your best goa l (Mento, Steel, & Karren, 1987; Weinberg, Bruya & Jackson, 1985). Therefore, it is likely th at a specific goal is more effective than a general action goal at achiev ing a specific endpoint, even when the two are adopted simultaneously.

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16 There are instances in which a subordinate goal can override a s uperordinate goal. For example, the goal to eat a slice of cake may over power the desire to restrain eating (Carver & Scheier, 1996). However, in th e ideal case, the activ ation of a superordin ate goal leads to the increased activation of specific goals that are subs umed under such a goal. In the case of general action goal activation, this should energize goals related to exerci sing and any other activity an individual construes as active. Thus activati ng a general action goal should be a potent means of energizing a variety of specific goal s that are related to physical activity. The Present Research. Three studies were conducted to assess the consequences of general action goals in the domain of diet and exercise. In the first study, participants received an action goal prime or a set of ne utral words as part of a word completion task. In the word completion task, participants were presented with an incomplete word and were instructed to try to determine the missing letters. For exampl e B_HAV_ would be properly completed as BEHAVE. Then participants were presented with an ostensible marketing questionnaire for the purpose of evaluating two products. One product wa s a container designed to keep food fresh, and participants are led to believe that a sample of grapes they are given was previously stored in such a container. The other product was described as an exercise video, from which participants were presented an excerpt of the script describi ng how to perform the exercises. The grapes and exercise instructions were presen ted in counterbalanced order so that either eating or exercising will come first. The amount of grapes eaten and the time spent practicing the exercises were the indices of activity. The second study was a replication of the first, testing the effectiveness of general action goal prime words presented subl iminally in increasing food consumption and exercise. In the goal priming task, participants completed an ostensible hand-eye coordination

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17 task, during which they were exposed sublimin ally to the prime words, followed by a chance either to eat chocolate chip c ookies or practice two exercises. In the third study, participants received either an action goal prime or a control prime in combination with exercise goal primes, indulge goal primes or control primes. This allows a 2 X 3 factorial design to test the effects of the specific goal primes by themselves and in combination with general action goals. The priming task paradigm was the same as in Experiment 2. Consistent with the two previous studies, participants then completed the ostensible marketing questionnaire, having the opportunity to eat yogur t raisins which had been kept in a special container and practice two exercise s. The yogurt raisins and exercise instructions were presented in counterbalanced order so that either eati ng or exercising came first. The amount of yogurt raisins eaten and the time spent practicing the exercises were the indi ces of activity. After exposure to the primes, snacks and exercise, partic ipants completed a series of scale questions about the target stimuli in order to maintain the cover story (Appendix C). Consistent with previous research on the eff ects of general action goals (Albarracn et al., 2006), we hypothesized that those w ho received neutral words in th e priming task will exercise less and eat less than those who receive action prim e words (Hypothesis 1). In line with research on goal specificity (Locke & Latham 1990), we hypothesized that specific goal primes alone (exercise vs. indulge) would be more effectiv e than general action goa ls at increasing the corresponding target behaviors (Hypothesis 2). Based on the properties of goal hierarchies (Carver & Scheier, 1996), we hypothesized that simultaneous priming of general action goals and specific goals (exercise vs. indulge) c ould have three potentia l outcomes: Combining specific goal primes with general action goal prim es could restrict the effects of the general action goal prime, preventing it from overgener alizing (Hypothesis 3), bu t it could also render

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18 the specific goal useless because general action goals are difficu lt to override by a subordinate goal (Hypothesis 4). Conversely, ther e is also a chance that the s ubordinate goal will overpower the general action goal, and that the simultane ous presentation of general and specific goal primes will have the same results as merely presenting the specific goal prime (Hypothesis 5).

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19 CHAPTER 2 EXPERIMENT 1 Method Overview The purpose of Experiment 1 was to test wh ether action goals incr ease the amount of exercise performed and the number of grapes eat en. The first task was a word completion task, described as a measure of verbal ability, which pr esented a set of words one word at a time. One or two letters were missing from each presente d word (e.g., U B R L L A). There were two sets of words, either containing the action goa l prime words or contro l prime words (Appendix A), one of which was selected randomly by Mediala b. Then, participants were given a chance to practice a seated exercise based on a set of wr itten instructions and sample some grapes delivered to their computer station. Following that, participants completed a series of questionnaires related to their diet and exercise attitudes and behaviors. Participants and Design We recruited 30 undergraduate stude nts at the University of Fl orida to partic ipate in the study in exchange for credits in an introduc tory psychology course. A 2 (prime: action vs. neutral) x 2 (task order: exer cise first vs. eat first) be tween-subjects design was employed. Procedure Participants in this study arrived in the lab and sat down at an empty computer station as indicated by the research assistant. Then the research assistant starte d the experiment using Medialab. Medialab prompted participants to op en the manila folder next to the computer monitor and to read and sign the enclosed info rmed consent sheet. After signing the informed consent sheet and clicking continue, participants received the instructi ons for the first task. Initially, participants completed a word completi on task determining the letters missing from a

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20 partial word (e.g., E T W E N). The instruc tions read: First, to both familiarize you with the computer program you will be using and to co llect some information that may be used for future studies, you will be asked to complete a seri es of words. Participants were then presented with 24 total words, either10 general action goal prime words and 14 neutral words (action prime condition), or 24 neutral words (control prime condition). Next, participants were presented with one of the two behavioral ta sks in counterbalanced random order. In keeping with the cover story, participants were pres ented with the following description of the grape stimulus : This new type of microfiber plastic container is designed to keep food fresher for longer. You will get the opp ortunity to taste a food sample which has been kept fresh in this container. The computer then prompted the participant to raise his or her hand to alert the research assistant, who then pr esented the participant with a Styrofoam bowl containing 15 red grapes. The other target stimulus was described as follows: You will be exposed to a typed excerpt from an exercise video which can be performed while sitting. These exercises were originally designed for people with mobility di fficulties (e.g., pregnant women, the elderly). Recently, however, they have been gaining popu larity among those who sit at a desk for long periods of time (Appendix B). Before being given specific instructions for exercises, participants were presented with the following: To gain feedback on the exercises, you will be practicing and rating two techniques Sit back in your chair, take a deep breath and click continue when you are ready." Participants were instructed to either practi ce the exercise described on their screen for up to 5 minutes or to taste as many gr apes as they chose. If the firs t stimulus was the bowl of grapes, the second was the exercise video passage. If the first stimulus was the exercise video passage,

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21 the second was the bowl of grapes. Then, in keepi ng with the cover story, participants responded to five-point scale items rela ted to their experiences. Thes e items included I thought the exercise was easy and How fresh was th e product that you sampled? (Appendix C). The first dependent measure in this study was the total amount of tim e spent practicing the exercises, which was recorded by Medialab and operationalized as the total amount of time spent on the exercise description screen. The second dependent measure in this study was the number of grapes eaten, which was obtained by asking part icipants at the very end of the experiment, before the debriefing, How many grapes are left in your bowl? Research assistants also counted the number of grapes remaining at the end of the se ssion to verify participants responses. Materials and Measures Priming task. The priming task was introduced as a quick measure of verbal ability. Participants were be instructed to complete 24 words with missing le tters (either 24 neutral words, or 12 neutral-control words and 10 action prime words; Appendix A). The instructions for each word were as follows: Please complete the word below. Simply type the completed word into the box once you have solved it. Pr ess ENTER afterwards. Depending on random assignment, half of the participants received 24 incomplete neutral words unrelated to activity, such as tooth, ethnic or square. The other half of the participants received 12 neutral words and 10 action-related words that coul d be completed as motivation, doing, behavior, engage, action, make, start go, and active. These words have high associations with action in the empirically derived Comput erized Edinburgh Associative Thesaurus (Kiss, Armstrong, Milroy, & Piper, 1973). They have been used successfully by Albarracin et al. (2006). Description of exercise task The exercise task is described as follows:

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22 You will be exposed to a typed excerpt from an exercise video which can be performed while sitting. These exercises were originally designed for people with mobility difficulties (e.g., pregnant women, the elderly). Recently, ho wever, they have been gaining popularity among those who sit at a desk for long peri ods of time. These exercises stretch and strengthen legs, abs, and lower back. To gain feedback on the exercises, you will be practicing and rating 2 techniques. Sit back in your chair, take a deep breath and click continue when you are ready. Following these instructions, participants recei ved the specific exercise instructions. The first set of instructions read: Remaining fully seated with your back against the back of the chair, slowly extend your legs un til they are fully stra ight, and parallel to the floor." (If you need to move your chair back, go ahead.) "Hold this po sition for 10 seconds, an d let your legs slowly relax until your feet t ouch the floor. Repeat for 5 minutes. Participants then performed the exercise for as long as he or she decided, with a ceiling of 5 minutes. Medialab automatically moved to the next screen if the participant did not click continue after 5 minutes on the instruction screen. Next, particip ants responded to five-point scal e items (with endpoints not at all and extremely) referring to the exercise th ey performed, including I enjoyed performing the exercise and I thought the exercise was easy (Appendix C). Next, participants were presented with inst ructions for the second exercise: Remaining fully seated with your back agains t the back of the chai r, place your feet on the floor. Lift your toes off of the ground, and keeping your heels on the ground, lean back in your seat until the two front legs of the chair are off the ground. Hold this position for 10 seconds (you should feel tension in your calves and shins). Let your legs slowly relax until your feet touch the floor. Repeat for 5 minutes. After clicking continue participants completed the same set of questions as after the first exercise. Description of eating task In keeping with the cover story, participants read the following instructions before receiving a sample of grapes: FRESH SEAL CONTAINER: This new type of microfiber plastic container is desi gned to keep food fresher for longer. You will get

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23 the opportunity to taste a food sa mple which has been kept fresh in this container. Then participants were instructed to taste the sample and pay attention to its taste, consistency and freshness. You may eat as much of the sample as you wish. After participants click continue, they are presented with five-point scale items a bout the sample (with endpoints not at all and extremely), including I enjoyed the consiste ncy of the sample and How fresh was the product that you sampled? Data analysis All tests of significance we re performed using SPSS. All p -values below .05 were considered significant, and all p -values ranging from .05-.08 were considered marginal. Results To measure the effects of a general action goa l prime on eating a 2 (action goal vs. control) x 2 (snack before exercise vs. exercise before snack) ANOVA was used. There was a main effect of general action goal primes on the number of grapes eaten: Those who received the general action goal prime ate more grapes than those who received the control prime ( M s = 11.6 and 9.2, respectively), F (1, 29) = 5.04, p < .05. There was also a main effect of order, by which participants who exercised first ate more grapes ( M = 11.9, SD = 4.3) than those who got to eat first ( M = 8.9, SD = 6.0), F (1, 29) = 7.00, p < .05. However, these main effects were qualified by a prime x order interaction, F (1, 29) = 5.45, p < .05. Investigating the interac tion, there are two potentially meaningful simple effects. First, for the control group only, there is a significant effect of order, F (1, 27) = 4.89, p < .05, indicating that unprimed participants ate more grapes if they exercised first ( M = 12.0, SD = 4.58) than if they ate first ( M = 2.67, SD = 1.53). There was also a marginally significant simple effect of prime type [ F (1, 27) = 3.13, p = .088] by which participants who ate before exercising ate more when exposed to the general act ion goal primes (M = 11.25, SD = 5.26) than when exposed to the control primes ( M = 2.67, SD = 1.53). Participants in the action prime condition who

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24 exercised first ate a mean 11.83 grapes ( SD = 4.37). This suggests that under normal circumstances, people may eat more after exerci sing than before exercising. This also suggests that a general action goal prime is more effec tive at increasing appetitive behavior when the prime immediately precedes it. Participants who received a gene ral action goal prime did not en joy the exercise task more or less than those who re ceived a control prime ( M s = 5.0 and 5.2 respectively), F (1, 29) = .072, p > .05. Therefore, exercise enjoyment was used as a covariate in each analysis of exercise. An ANOVA investigating total exercise time as a f unction of prime and task order found a main effect of prime type ( F (1, 24) = 3.67, p < .05). The mean exercise ti me for those in the action prime condition was 210.81 seconds ( SD = 180.77), and for those in the control prime condition, the mean exercise time was 114.1 seconds ( SD = 54.54). There was no main effect of task order on total exercise time ( F (1, 25) = 0.47, p > .05), and the interaction term was not significant ( F (1, 25) = 0.87, p > .05). Discussion The data suggest that eating behaviors were increased by a general action goal, supporting Hypothesis 1. Further, the data s uggest that participants who ar e given an action prime increase the number of grapes they choose to eat, but on ly when the eating task immediately follows the prime. This may be due to a sa tisfaction of the gene ral action goal state th rough exercising. This effect was marginally significant and should ther efore be interpreted cautiously. There was also a simple effect of order, by which control particip ants ate more grapes when they were given the opportunity to eat after exercisi ng than before exercising. Partic ipants were unaware of the second task while completing the first; therefore this cannot be the result of deliberately monitoring caloric consumption. Although some researchers have found evidence that suggests humans increase their intake of calories after increasing energy expenditure (Stubbs, et al.,

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25 2002), a review by Blundell and King (1999) suggests that this effect is generally weak to nonexistent As additional support for Hypothesis 1, partic ipants who received a general action goal prime spent more time performing the exercise ta sk than those who were primed with control words, suggesting that exercise is susceptible to general goals to become active. It is possible that since exercise is more physically laborious than eating, it is more e ffective at satisfying the general action goal. However, exercising may sa tisfy the general action goal on its own, and therefore when exercise precedes eating, the gene ral action goal is ine ffective at increasing eating. Although no participants reported an awareness of the true nature of the study, there is still a chance that participants became aware of a them e in the words presented in the supraliminal word completion task. Therefore, in Experiment 2, subliminal primes were used, disguised as part of a hand-eye coordination reaction time tas k. Also, despite success with grapes as a food stimulus, they are not necessarily the best representation of the temptations that befall a dieter trying to lose weight by adopting a general act ion goal. Instead, Experiment 2 used small chocolate chip cookies.

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26 CHAPTER 3 EXPERIMENT 2 Method Overview In Experiment 2, an attempt was made to addr ess three issues remaining from Experiment 1. First, subliminal primes were used instead of a word completion task, in order to negate potential experimenter expectancy effects that could result from becoming aware of the prime. The words presented in the subliminal priming task were identical to the words presented in the word completion task. Second, a less healthy fo od stimulus was used (small chocolate chip cookies instead of grapes) to test whether genera l action goals increase the consumption of foods detrimental to weight loss goals. Third, to mini mize potential carryover eff ects, participants only completed one task, either exercising or eat ing as part of the product evaluation task Participants and Design We recruited 50 undergraduate stude nts at the University of Fl orida to partic ipate in the study in exchange for credits in an introductory psychology course. A 2-f actor (prime: action vs. neutral) between-subjects design was employed. Procedure Participants in this study arrived in the la b and sit at an empty computer station as indicated by the research assistant. Then the re search assistants began the experiment by opening the appropriate file and ente ring the condition in Medialab. After reading and signing the enclosed informed consent sheet, participants received the instructions for the first task. Initially, participants completed an ostensible hand-eye co ordination task, in which they were presented with eight action words (Appendix A) and eight neutral words presented in random order. To ensure that the words were presented sublimin ally, they were presented for 15 milliseconds each,

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27 preceded by a flash of symbols (forward masking) Following the presentation of each word, a string of Xs was flashed onscreen to prevent the word from being visible as an afterimage (back masking). The string of Xs remained onscreen until participants pressed the space bar, and after 100 ms, the next word randomly chosen word was presented. Next, participants were presented with one of the two behavioral tasks, as determined by random assignment. To maintain the cover story, participants read the fo llowing description of the cookie stimulus: This new type of microfiber plastic contai ner is designed to keep food fresher for longer. You will get th e opportunity to taste a food samp le which has been kept fresh in this container. The computer then prompted participants to raise their hand to alert the research assistant, who delivered a Styrofoam bo wl containing 25 small chocolate chip cookies to the participants computer station. The exercise video task was described as follo ws: You will be exposed to a typed excerpt from an exercise video which can be performed while sitting. These exercises were originally designed for people with mobility difficulties (e.g., pregnant women, the elderly). Recently, however, they have been gaining popularity among those who sit at a desk for long periods of time (Appendix B). Following this explanation, part icipants then read a description of a seated exercise, and they were told to practice the exercise as long as th ey wanted. In keeping with the cover story, participants responde d to five-point scale items related to the exercise, and performed a second, very similar exercise. This study had two main dependent measures: First, the amount of time spent practicing the exercises--operationalized as the total amount of time spent on the exercise description screen was recorded to the millisecond by Medi alab. The second dependent measure was the number of cookies eaten, which was obtained by directly asking participants, before the

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28 debriefing, How many cookies are left in your bowl? Honesty of responding was verified by research assistants. Results First, an independent samples t -test was used to test, am ong participants who were randomly assigned to the eating condition, whether there was an effect of a general action goal prime on the number of cookies eaten. Howeve r, there was no difference between the groups; both groups ate an average of 13.6 cookies [ t (42) = .004, p > .05]. There was no overall effect of action goals on total exercise [ t (48) = 1.504, p > .05], although the mean number of total seconds spent exercising for participants who received an action goal prime versus a control prime was 96.92 s ( SD = 81.05) and 67.22 s ( SD = 56.41), respectively. A t -test comparing an action goal prime to a cont rol prime for just the first exercise found no difference between the groups, t (48) = .915, p > .05. A t-test comparing the second exercise of those who received an action goal prime and those who received a control prime found a marginally significant difference between the groups, t (48) = 1.816, p = .076. Discussion There was no effect of prime on cookie consump tion. This could be that subliminal primes are slightly weaker than subtle supraliminal primes. It is also possible that cookies are clearly less healthy, and therefore partic ipants are simply less willing to eat them. This is supported by the proportions of food eaten : In Experiment 1, participants in all conditions ate an average of 10.8 grapes out a given 15, whereas in Experiment 2, the grand mean was 13.6 out of a possible 25. If participants would not eat cookies as freely as grapes, it is possible that a more subtly healthy food would be more sensit ive than an obviously unhealthy food.

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29 In terms of exercise, although the means of ex ercise time follow a trend that supports the hypothesis that general action goals increase exercise, only the s econd exercise shows an effect of prime, and the effect is marginal. This is li kely due to the large variance in exercise times within both the action and contro l group. Power may need to be greater for the effects of these subliminal primes to be detectable.

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30 CHAPTER 4 EXPERIMENT 3 Method Overview The third experiment was aimed to test th ree hypotheses. Hypothesis 2 predicted that specific goals alone would be more effective th an general action goals at increasing target behaviors. Also, the simultaneous presentation of specific and general action goal primes could either restrict the effects of the general action goal to target domains (Hypothesis 3) or could result in the general action goal overriding th e specific goal (Hypothesis 4). The procedure and materials used in Experiment 3 were similar to those used in Experiments 1 and 2. However, the subliminal priming task contained a second se t of words (exercise prime words, such as aerobic, exercise and sweat vs. indulge prime words, such as feast, indulge and snack) which were inserted in to the priming task (Appendix A). As in Experiment 2, participants began with the subliminal priming task described as a measure of hand-eye coordination. In this task, there were four possible sets of prime words grouped into two categorie s; action vs. control, and exercise vs. indulge vs. control. These categories were crossed to create 6 different co mbinations of general and specific prime word. Participants were randomly assigned to one of th ese 6 combinations of prime words, and within each combination, the words were combined in random order as a single subliminal word presentation task (ostensibly measuring reaction ti me). Participants were then given a chance to practice an exercise and sample some yogurt raisins from a bowl at their computer station, in random counterbalanced order. Following that, participants complete d a brief questionnaire related to the eating and exercise tasks.

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31 Participants and Design We recruited 165 undergraduate students at the Un iversity of Florida to participate in the study in exchange for credits in an introducto ry psychology course. A 2 (general goal prime: action vs. control) x 3 (specific goal prime: diet vs. indulge vs. control) between-subjects design was employed. Snacking Stimulus Yogurt raisins were used to measure food c onsumption. Sun-Maid yogurt raisins, although containing fiber and protein, are made with palm kernel oil, and are ther efore high in saturated fat (4 grams per serving; 21% of ones daily RDA). Using a less obviously unhealthy stimulus as measure of eating is likely to be more succe ssful as a measure of snacking behavior, as participants should not resist th e temptation of yogurt raisins quite as much as chocolate chip cookies. Procedure After being checked in by a research assistan t and being seated at an available computer, participants were given onscreen prompts to sign the informed consent sheet, followed by a description of the ostensible hand-eye coordination reaction ti me task. Following the disguised priming task, participants read a description of one of the two targ et stimuli, either a sample of yogurt raisins, ostensib ly intended to assess the e ffectiveness of a particular storage container, or two exercises ostensibly testing the effectivene ss of a new exercise vi deo. Participants were instructed either to pr actice the exercise on the screen or to taste the cookies (counterbalanced randomly by Medialab), and were then presented with some scale questio ns about their opinions of the products. Following these, the second stimulus was presented. If the first stimulus was the passage from the exercise video, the second was the sample of yogurt raisins, and vice versa.

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32 The first dependent measure in this experiment was the amount of time spent performing the two exercises, for up to 5 minutes each; part icipants were given the opportunity to click continue, ending the exercise trial, whenever they choose. The second dependent measure was the self-reported number of yogurt raisins rema ining in the bowl, ranging from zero to 15. Consistent with the previous two studies, this number was verified by a research assistant. Participants then signed the debriefing form and were thanked for their participation. Results An ANOVA was used to test for main effects of action prime [ F (1, 153) = 1.289, p > .05.] or specific prime [ F (1, 153) = 0.424, p > .05.] on snack consumption (Table 4-1). A test of planned comparisons revealed some significant differences between participants in the six conditions of the study. Participants who received an exerci se/control prime set ate fewer yogurt raisins ( M = 5.79) than participants who recei ved an indulge/control prime set ( M = 8.6); t (159) = -1.19, p < .05. There was also a marginal di fference between the control/control group and the indulge/control gr oup: Indulge/control participan ts ate more yogurt raisins ( M = 8.6) than control/control participants ( M = 6.03), t (159) = -1.764, p = .08. The most critical comparison looked at the di fference between a specific goal by itself (indulge/control) and in combination with a ge neral action goal (indul ge/action). A planned comparison revealed that participants who recei ved the indulge/control prime set ate more yogurt raisins ( M = 8.6) than participan ts who received the indulge/action prime set ( M = 5.21); t (159) = 2.29, p < .05. This lends support to Hypothesis 4, to the detriment of Hypotheses 3 and 5. No other comparisons were significant. Investigating the effects of the two sets of primes on exercise, ANOVA was used. There were no main effects of action prime [ F (1, 149) = 0.006, p > .05] or of specific prime [ F (1, 149) = 2.033, p > .05] on total exercise time (Table 4-2) However, a test of planned comparisons

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33 revealed two marginally significan t differences. First, in suppor t of Hypothesis 2, participants who received an exercise/control prime set sp ent longer exercising than participants who received a control/control prime set [ M s = 184.3 s and 121.16 s respectively; t (149) = -1.937, p < .06]. As further support of the disruptive effect of a general action go al being added to a specific goal (Hypothesis 4), participants in the exercise/c ontrol condition ( M = 184.3 s) exercised longer than participants in the exercise/action condition ( M = 123.23 s); t (149) = 1.907, p < .06. Discussion Although there were no main effects of genera l action goal primes or specific primes, the patterns of results, including the significant simple main effect, suggest th at specific goal primes are better than general action goa l primes at increasing the targ eted behavior (Hypothesis 2). However, when general action goal primes were presented simultaneously with the specific goal primes, the specific goal primes were no longer ef fective, supporting Hypo thesis 4. There was no support for Hypothesis 3, which pred icted that specific goals comb ined with action goals would be as effective (or more effective) than specific goals on their own.

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34 CHAPTER 5 GENERAL DISCUSSION General action goals can lead to the expressi on of a number of behaviors, but they do so indiscriminately. Although a sublim inal, specific goal to exercise or eat modifies these behaviors effectively, a general action goal doe s not limit the effects of the general action goal to the target domain. These results suggest that action goals should not be adopted for the purpose of reaching a specific goal, such as losing weight. Health in terventions should promote specific goals for weight loss and exercise and not just encourag e overall increases in activity, because these increases may be in the wrong domains. Addition ally, individuals who ch ronically have action goals activated (either because of a naturally mani c disposition or because of an adjustment to a fast-moving social environment) should beware of the potentially disruptive effects of such goals. Based on our previous findi ngs about the effects of inaction goals, adopting goals to relax or meditate could diminish the disruptive effect s of chronically activat ed general action goals. Limitations and future directions The main limitation of these studies is the noisy nature of the behavioral depende nt variables. Although most of th e means were ranked exactly as predicted, the error variances for exercise task ti me and amount of snacks eaten was quite large. In the future, a different measure of exercise may improve upon this limitation. For example, a minimum amount of exercise a participant is re quired to perform would prevent any extremely low exercise times. Also, effort was operationali zed as the amount of time spent on the exercise task, but there is a chance that some individuals exerted a great de al of effort in the exercises over a short period and quickly became tired. Othe rs may have calmly and evenly performed the exercises for a longer period. Such individual diffe rences would be influenced by beliefs about how exercise should be performed, and by past e xperiences with exercise. Temporal construal

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35 also varies between individuals; some people perceive time differently, and despite exerting equal effort, do so for different times. For these reasons, a more precise and direct measure of physical effort, such as a hang-gr ip sensor, may be more sensitiv e to the effects of a general action goal prime. The measure of eating may also be sensitive to individual differences in task performance. Perhaps some participants ate fewer grapes but sp ent a great deal of effo rt determining how juicy or fresh they were. Since the cover story maintain ed that the exposure to exercise and snacks was part of a product evaluation task, one particip ant may have felt that eating a single grape was enough to evaluate the quality of the container, whereas another needed to eat 10 grapes to satisfy the same goal. More generally, cognitive ly evaluating the products may have led to the satisfaction of the general action goal before the opportunity to eat or exercise even began. In the future, this could be addressed by giving particip ants a snack as a reward for completion of a bogus task, and then measuring the am ount of the snack that is eaten. In order to apply these findings to health interventions, it would be necessary to study longitudinally whether the adoption of general action goals is more or less effective than specific goals at predicting exercise. Such studies coul d measure whether people naturally adopt general action goals in order to lose we ight, and if recommending general action goals leads to increases in undesired behavior un related to exercise.

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36 Table 4-1. Food consumption as a function of prime: Number of yogurt raisins eaten across general prime and specific prime Indulge Exercise Control Action 5.04 5.35 6.58 Control 8.33 5.56 6.12 Table 4-2. Exercise performance as a function of prime: Number of seconds spent exercising, crossing general prime and specific prime Indulge Exercise Control Action 170.01 151.25 123.23 Control 134.77 184.3 121.16

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37 APPENDIX A PRIME WORD LISTS Action goal prime words: 1. MOTIVATION 2. DOING 3. BEHAVIOR 4. GO 5. ACTIVE 6. MAKE 7. ENGAGE 8. ACTION Exercise goal prime words: 1. EXERCISE 2. SWEAT 3. GYM 4. RUN 5. AEROBIC 6. FITNESS 7. MUSCLE 8. SPORTS Indulge goal prime words: 1. INDUGLE 2. FEAST

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38 3. SNACK 4. TASTE 5. SPLURGE 6. ENJOY 7. OVEREAT 8. TREAT Neutral goal prime words: 1. UMBRELLA 2. RING 3. ELEVATOR 4. ANT 5. JEANS 6. TANK 7. GAUGE 8. PENGUIN

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39 APPENDIX B SCRIPTS FOR EXERCISES Now you will be sampling two products. The first product is EXERCISE TAPE #1. You will be exposed to a typed excerpt from an exercise video which can be performed while sitting. These exercises were originally designed for people with mobility difficulties (e.g., pregnant women, the elderly). Recently, howev er, they have been gaining popularity among those who sit at a desk for long periods of time. These exercises stretch an d strengthen legs, abs, and lower back. To gain feedback on the exercises, you will be practicing and rating 2 techniques. Sit back in your chair, take a deep breath, a nd click continue when you are ready. Exercise A: Remaining fully seated with your back against the back of the chair, slowly extend your legs until they are fully straight, and parallel to the floor. (If you need to move your chair back, go ahead.) Hold this position for 10 seconds, and let your legs slowly relax until your feet touch the floor. Repeat for 5 minutes. Please practice this exercise. Once you are fi nished, click continue to begin answering questions about your experience. Exercise B: Remaining fully seated with your back against the back of the chair, place your feet on the floor. Lift your toes off of the ground, and keeping your heels on the ground, lean back in your seat until the two fr ont legs of the chair are off the ground. Hold this position for 10 seconds (you shoul d feel tension in your calves and shins). Let your legs slowly relax until your feet touch the floor. Repeat for 5 minutes. Please practice this exercise. Once you are fi nished, click continue to begin answering questions about your experience.

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40 LIST OF REFERENCES Aarts, H., Chartrand, T. L., Cust ers, R., Danner, U., Dik, G., Jefferis, V. E., & Cheng, C. M. (2005). Social stereotypes a nd automatic goal pursuit. Social Cognition, 23 465-490. Albarracin, D., Handley, I. M., Noguchi, K., McCullo ch, K. C., Li, H., Leeper, J. H., & Earl, A. (2006). Energizing and Deenergizing Overt Beha viors and Cognitive Procedures: A Model of Social Incitation of General Action and Inaction Goals Unpublished manuscript: University of Florida, Gainesville. Blair, S. N., Kohl, H. W., III, Paffenbarger, R. S., Jr., Clark, D. G., Cooper, K. H., & Gibbons, L. W. (1989). Physical fitness and all-cause mo rtality. A prospective study of healthy men and women. JAMA 262 2395. Blundell, J. E., & King, N. A. (1999). Physical activity and regulation of food intake: Current evidence. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 31 573-583. Costa, D. L. (2000). The Wage and the Length of the Work Day: From the 1890s to 1991. Journal of Labor Economics 18 156-81. Craik, F. I., & Tulving, E. (1975) Depth of processing and the re tention of words in episodic memory. Journal of Experime ntal Psychology, 104 268-294. Critser, G. (2003). Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. Forster, J., Liberman, N., & Higgins, E. T. (2005) Accessibility from active and fulfilled goals. Journal of Experime ntal Social Psychology 41 220-239. Gleick, J. (2000). Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything New York: Random House. Grodstein, F., Levine, R., Spencer, T., Colditz, G.A., & Stampfer, M. J. (1996). Three-year follow-up of participants in a commercial weight loss program: can you keep it off? Archives of Internal Medicine, 156, 1302-1306. International Olympic Committee, (n.d.). Olympic Records Retrieved August 28, 2006, from http://www.olympic.org/uk/utilities/r eports/level2_uk.asp?HEAD2=10&HEAD1=5 Kiss, G.R., Armstrong, C., Milroy, R., & Piper, J. (1973). An associative thesaurus of English and its computer analysis. In Aitken, A.J., Bailey, R.W. and Hamilton-Smith, N. (Eds.), The Computer and literary studies Edinburgh: University Press. Kruglanski, A.W. (1996). Motivated social cognition: Principles of the interface. In E.T. Higgins & A.W. Kruglanski (Eds.), Social psychology: Handbook of basic principles (pp. 493 520). New York: Guilford Press.

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41 Lassiter, G. D., Geers, A. L., & Apple, K. J. (2002). Communication se t and the perception of ongoing behavior. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28, 158. Latham, G. P., & Yukl, G. A. (1975). Assigned vers us participative goal setting with educated and uneducated woods workers. Journal of Applied Psychology, 60 299-302. Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. (1990). A Theory of Goal Setting and Task Performance Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. Maine, M. (2000). Body Wars: Making Peace with Womens Bodies. Carlsbad, CA: Grze Books. Mento, A. J., Steel, R. P., & Karren, R. J. (1987) A meta-analytic study of the effects of goal setting on task performance: 1966-1984. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 39 52-83. Nisbett, R. E. (1972). Hunger, obesit y, and the ventromedial hypothalamus. Psychological Review, 79 433-453. Norcross, J. C., Mrykalo, M. S., & Blagys, M. D. (2002). Auld lang syne: Success predictors, change processes, and self-reported outcomes of New Year's resolvers and nonresolvers. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 58 397-405. OECD, (2005). OECD Broadband Statistics to December 2006 Retrieved March 2, 2006, from http://www.oecd.org/sti/ict/broadband Presidents Challenge Physical Activ ity and Fitness Rewards Program, (n.d.). Youre it. Get Fit! Retrieved March 2, 2006, from http://www.Presidentschallenge.org Stubbs, R. J., Sepp, A., Hughes, D. A., Johnstone, A. M., King, N., Horgan, G., & Blundell, J. E. (2002). The effect of graded levels of exerci se on energy intake and balance in free-living women. International Journal of Obesity 26 866-869. Weinberg, R., Bruya, L., & Jackson, A. (1985) The effects of goal proximity and goal specificity on endurance performance. Journal of Sport Psychology 7 296-305. Zeigarnik, B. (1927). Das Behalten er ledigter und unerlidigter Handlungen. Psychologische Forschung, 9 1-85.

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42 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Josh Leeper received his bach elors degree is psychology from the University of Florida in May 2004. After working as lab manager for Dr. Do lores Albarracin, Josh entered the graduate social psychology program at the University of Florida in the Psychology Department in fall 2005 and graduated in fall 2007.