Introductory dialogue and the Köhler Effect in software-generated workout partners

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Abstract

Objectives:

This study explored the Köhler motivation gain effect utilizing adults and software-generated partners (SGPs) during an abdominal exercise regimen and compared the type of participant-SGP introductory dialogue as a moderator. The Köhler effect applies interdependent team dynamics in which group performance is dependent upon the weaker member. The third objective was to examine if this motivation paradigm would result in adverse consequences to secondary variables: exertion, enjoyment, and self-efficacy beliefs.

Design:

Adults (Mage = 38.8 ± 7.7) were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 conditions: Interactive Partner SGP (IP), Linear Dialogue Partner SGP (LDP), or individual control (IC), to complete a series of abdominal exercises. The experiment used a 3 (condition) x 2 (gender) ANCOVA design, with a baseline block of exercises as a covariate.

Method:

Participants completed abdominal exercises individually and, after a rest, repeated the same exercises with either an SGP programmed to be moderately stronger or individually (IC). Prior to the second exercise block, IP participants interacted with the SGP using a dialogue tree optional-response format. The LDP participant introduction was a linear, scripted exchange of basic information.

Results:

The LDP and IP conditions persisted significantly longer than IC, generating moderate effect sizes (d = 0.62; d = 0.76). The mean difference between partnered conditions was not significant.

Conclusions:

The Köhler motivation exercise paradigm resulted in a considerable increase in persistence (Madj = 28.9, SE = 10.6) in the first study to use middle-aged adults with superior SGPs. Differences between introductory dialogue methods were not significant.

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