Changing implicit attitudes for physical activity with associative learning

Null findings from an experimental study conducted in pulmonary rehabilitation
  • Guillaume ChevanceEmail author
  • Tanya Berry
  • Julie Boiché
  • Nelly Heraud
Main Article



This study evaluated the impact of 4‑day exposure to posters pairing physical activity or sedentary behavior with positive stimuli on implicit attitudes toward physical activity versus sedentary behavior, and physical activity measured with accelerometers.


This study was conducted among participants enrolled in a pulmonary rehabilitation program. Participants (N = 79) were randomized into groups exposed to (i) posters of people being physically active, (ii) posters of people engaged in sedentary behaviors, or (iii) control, not exposed. Over four days, different posters were put in patients’ bedrooms. Participants were not informed of the link between the intervention and the evaluations. Implicit attitudes were measured with an Implicit Association Test at the start and at the end of the intervention. Physical activity was measured with accelerometers the weekend after the intervention.


Regarding implicit attitudes, results showed a non-significant time × group interaction. There were also no significant differences between groups regarding physical activity. Bayesian analyses confirmed these null hypotheses.


Putting posters pairing physical activity stimuli with positive stimuli in patients’ bedroom during a rehabilitation program did not impact their implicit attitudes or physical activity behavior. Other studies are needed to develop effective interventions targeting implicit attitudes.


Automatic processes Automatic evaluation Non-conscious processes Dual processes Bayesian analyses 

Veränderung impliziter Einstellungen zu körperlicher Aktivität durch assoziatives Lernen

Nullergebnisse einer experimentellen Studie im Rahmen der pneumologischen Rehabilitation



In dieser Studie wurde der Einfluss einer 4‑tägigen Exposition mit Postern, die körperliche Aktivität oder ein sitzendes Verhalten mit positiven Stimuli paarten, auf implizite Einstellungen gegenüber körperlicher Aktivität vs. sitzendem Verhalten und auf die mit einem Akzelerometer gemessene körperliche Aktivität untersucht.


Die Teilnehmer dieser Studie (N = 79) befanden sich in einem Programm für pneumologische Rehabilitation. Sie wurden in Gruppen randomisiert, die (i) Postern von körperlich aktiven Personen bzw. (ii) Postern von Personen mit sitzendem Verhalten ausgesetzt waren oder (iii) als nichtexponierte Kontrolle fungierten. Über einen Zeitraum von 4 Tagen wurden in den Schlafzimmern der Patienten verschiedene Poster aufgehängt. Die Teilnehmer wurden nicht über die Verbindung zwischen der Intervention und den Untersuchungen in Kenntnis gesetzt. Implizite Einstellungen wurden mit einem darauf ausgelegten Test (Implicit Association Test) zu Beginn und am Ende der Intervention gemessen. Körperliche Aktivität wurde am Wochenende nach der Intervention mit Akzelerometern bestimmt.


Bezüglich impliziter Einstellungen zeigten die Ergebnisse eine nichtsignifikante Zeit × Gruppen-Interaktion. Auch signifikante Unterschiede zwischen den Gruppen hinsichtlich der körperlichen Aktivität fanden sich nicht. Bayes-Analysen bestätigten diese Nullhypothesen.


Das Aufhängen von Postern, die Stimuli körperlicher Aktivität mit positiven Stimuli paaren, in den Schlafzimmern von Patienten eines Rehabilitationsprogramms hatte keinen Einfluss auf ihre impliziten Einstellungen oder ihr Verhalten bezüglich körperlicher Aktivität. Für die Entwicklung wirksamer Interventionen, die auf implizite Einstellungen abzielen, sind weitere Studien erforderlich.


Automatische Vorgänge Automatische Auswertung Unbewusste Vorgänge Duale Prozesse Bayes-Analyse 



The research was conducted at the clinic “La Solane”, Osséja, France. The authors wish to thank the entire staff of the clinic, and especially Nadia Souyah for her precious help on the intervention.

Compliance with ethical guidelines

Conflict of interest

G. Chevance, T. Berry, J. Boiché and N. Heraud declare that they have no competing interests.

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1975 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

12662_2018_559_MOESM1_ESM.docx (6 mb)
(1) posters used for this study, (2) correlation table for the main variables measured, (3) supplemental results regarding the posters selection, (4) description of the IAT stimuli, (5) items used for the manipulation check


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Deutschland, ein Teil von Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire EpsylonUniv. MontpellierMontpellierFrance
  2. 2.Groupe 5 SantéLes Cliniques du Souffle ®ToulougesFrance
  3. 3.Faculty of Physical Education and RecreationUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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