Keeping the Goal in Sight: Testing the Influence of Narrowed Visual Attention on Physical Activity

Emily Balcetis, Matthew T. Riccio, Dustin T. Duncan, Shana Cole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Rates of physical inactivity continue to rise in the United States. With this work, we tested the efficacy of a strategy affecting the scope of visual attention designed to promote walking as a form of exercise. Specifically, we examined the influence of narrowed attention on the frequency (Studies 1a, 1b, and 3) and efficiency (Studies 2 and 4) of physical activity in general (Studies 1 and 2) and within exercise bouts measured across multiple days (Studies 3 and 4). We provide convergent evidence by investigating both individual differences in (Studies 1 and 2) and experimentally manipulated patterns of visual attention orienting (Studies 3 and 4). We discuss implications of attentional strategies for self-regulation and fitness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPersonality and social psychology bulletin
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology


  • exercise
  • goals
  • scope
  • self-regulation
  • visual attention

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