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Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2005 May;31(5):610-20.

Using images to increase exercise behavior: prototypes versus possible selves.

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Department of Psychology, State University of New York College-Cortland, NY 13045, USA.


This study investigated the impact of health-related prototypes and possible selves on exercise behavior. In addition, this study examined if these effects might be moderated by individual differences-specifically social comparison (SC) and consideration of future consequences (CFC). One hundred and fifty-two students participated in all three waves of the study-premanipulation, manipulation, and follow-up. As expected, results indicated that individuals who were high on SC and exposed to a prototype manipulation increased their exercise behavior at follow-up. Furthermore, individuals who were future-oriented and exposed to a possible selves manipulation increased their exercise behavior at follow-up. Overall, results revealed that health images have an important impact on health behavior. Implications for behavior change are discussed.

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