Theories of suggestion and motivation were used to examine if college students exercising in an environment with low or high motivation posters would affect mood, perceived exertion, and exercise workload (i.e., RPM and speed). A total of 134 students (62 males, 72 females) were randomly assigned to one of three conditions while exercising: relaxing posters (i.e., tropical nature), motivational posters (i.e., competitive bikers), or no posters (i.e., control). Participants completed 20 minutes of exercise at their own pace. Measures of mood were taken immediately prior to and following exercise. Exercise workload was recorded throughout. Results indicate that participants in the relaxing condition experienced higher levels of tension than those in the other two conditions. Participants in the motivational condition reported higher levels of relaxation. A consistency bias may have made participants uncomfortable in an exercise environment with relaxing images that are inconsistent with a typical exercise atmosphere.
Plante, T. G., Morisako, A., Folk, J., Kay, E., Read, C., Dunn, A., Perez, A., & Willemsen, E. (2013). The effect of visual suggestion on exercise motivation and outcomes. Psychology Journal, 10, 23-34.