Attentional preferences and attitudes toward exercise settings with and without televisions


Research shows benefits of exercising with television (TV; Rider et al., 2016), yet has not examined whether attentional preferences affect an individual's attitudes toward exercise settings (ATES) with or without TVs. The purpose of the current study was to examine association (tendency to attend to the body during exercise), dissociation (proclivity to attend to external cues during exercise) and polychronicity (preference for switching attention between concurrent ongoing tasks) as potential predictors of ATES with and without TVs. College students (N = 93, M age = 20.4 years) completed an online survey including the Attentional Focusing Questionnaire (Brewer et al., 1996), Multitasking Preference Inventory (Poposki & Oswald, 2010), and control measures of sensation seeking and physical activity. They also reported ATES for two sets of images showing a commercial-type exercise center and differing only with respect to presence of TVs. Separate multiple regressions were used for the respective image sets, regressing ATES on the attentional preference, sensation seeking, and physical activity variables. Dissociation positively predicted ATES in both the TV (? = 0.35, p < .05) and No TV (? = 0.26, p < .05) models. No other variables were significant predictors in either model. The correlation between ATES for TV and ATES for No TV settings was r = 0.89 (p < .01). Results suggest that a greater tendency to dissociate ties with more favorable attitudes toward exercise center settings, regardless of TV presence. However, TV content, location, and obtrusiveness warrant future research consideration relative to attentional preferences.

Acknowledgments: MSU College of Education Summer Research Fellowship