Problem statement: Social comparison theory was used to examine if exercising with a research confederate posing as either high fit or low fit would increase the exertion in exercising. Approach: 91 college students were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: Biking alone, biking with a high fit confederate, or biking with a low fit confederate. All participants were instructed to complete 20 min of exercise at 60-70% of their maximum target heart rate. Results: Results indicated that participants in the high fit condition exercised harder than those in the low fit condition. However, no mood differences emerged between conditions. Conclusion: Social comparison theory predicts exercise outcome such that participants gravitate towards the behavior (high fit or low fit) of those around them.
Plante, T.G., M. Madden, S. Mann and G. Lee, 2010. Effects of Perceived Fitness Level of Exercise Partner on Intensity of Exertion. J. Soc. Sci., 6: 50-54.
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