Automatic evaluation stimuli - The most frequently used words to describe physical activity and the pleasantness of physical activity

Amanda L. Rebar, Stephanie Schoeppe, Stephanie J. Alley, Camille E. Short, James A. Dimmock, Ben Jackson, David E. Conroy, Ryan E. Rhodes, Corneel Vandelanotte

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14 Scopus citations


Physical activity is partially regulated by non-conscious processes including automatic evaluations - the spontaneous affective reactions we have to physical activity that lead us to approach or avoid physical activity opportunities. A sound understanding of which words best represent the concepts of physical activity and pleasantness (as associated with physical activity) is needed to improve the measurement of automatic evaluations and related constructs (e.g., automatic self-schemas, attentional biases). The first aim of this study was to establish population-level evidence of the most common word stimuli for physical activity and pleasantness. Given that response latency measures have been applied to assess automatic evaluations of physical activity and exercise, the second aim was to determine whether people use the same behavior and pleasant descriptors for physical activity and exercise. Australian adults (N = 1,318; 54.3% women; 48.9% aged 55 years or older) were randomly assigned to one of two groups, through a computer-generated 1:1 ratio allocation, to be asked to list either five behaviors and pleasant descriptors of physical activity (n = 686) or of exercise (n = 632). The words were independently coded twice as to whether they were novel words or the same as another (i.e., same stem or same meaning). Intercoder reliability varied between moderate and strong (agreement = 50.1 to 97.8%; κ = 0.48 to 0.82). A list of the 20 most common behavior and pleasantness words were established based on how many people reported them, weighted by the ranking (1-5) people gave them. The words people described as physical activity were mostly the same as those people used to describe exercise. The most common behavior words were 'walking,' 'running,' 'swimming,' 'bike riding,' and 'gardening'; and the most common pleasant descriptor words were 'relaxing,' 'happiness,' 'enjoyment,' 'exhilarating,' 'exhausting,' and 'good.' These sets of stimuli can be utilized as resources for response latency measurement tasks of automatic evaluations and for tools to enhance automatic evaluations of physical activity in evaluative conditioning tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number01277
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue numberAUG
StatePublished - Aug 23 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


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