Exploring the Effects of Positive and Negative Normative Information on an Exercise Endurance Task

Published: 22 February 2020| Version 3 | DOI: 10.17632/dt5gc2r96t.3
Keith Randazzo


Background/Purpose: The purpose of this study was twofold: to explore the effect of positive and negative descriptive norm information on a muscular endurance task and to explore the effect the normative information had on self-efficacy. Method: College students (N= 102; 51 males, 51 females, mean age = 22.06 SD 2.27) were randomly assigned to one of three groups; positive, negative, or control. First they performed a maximal effort abdominal plank. During a 3-min rest period participants in the positive and negative groups were given their corresponding norm trigger. Participants then completed a second plank followed by a manipulation check and general measure of task efficacy. Analysis/Results: After controlling for performance on the initial plank, results of the ANCOVA revealed a significant difference between groups [F (2, 98) = 8.152, p<.001, η2p = .15] indicating a large effect size (Cohen, 1969). The positive norm group held their plank significantly longer than the negative norm group and the control group, but those groups did not differ. A repeated measures ANOVA revealed a significant time by group effect [F (2, 97) = 9.95, p> .001, η2p = .17], indicating that the provision of positive norm information increased self-efficacy. Conclusions: Findings indicated that positive normative information increased task self-efficacy and facilitated effort that resulted in superior performance on the second abdominal plank. Simply providing a normative trigger (that peers of similar ability performed well) served as a source of vicarious information to bolster self-efficacy, communicating a high expectation that was effective in improving performance. Key words: Social norms, Physical Activity, Self-efficacy