The aim of this thesis was to investigate the effects of manipulations related to autonomy (or lack thereof) on a range of evaluative, conative and self-regulatory processes in the context of health-related outcomes. In the first investigation, differences in exercise-related goals were examined between participants primed with autonomous, controlled, or neutral material. It was found that autonomy-primed individuals set exercise goals that were longer in intended duration than those set by the controlled- and neutral-primed individuals. An indirect prospective relationship between prime and exercise behaviour was also found, with autonomy-primed individuals participating in longer goal-based exercise sessions via their exercise goals. These findings provide evidence that motivation primes may influence downstream conscious processing, and that priming might be a valuable tool to utilise during traditional goal setting programs. In the second study, participants engaged in an exercise session in either an indoor setting, or an identical session in a green outdoor setting, and were then exposed to a brief post-session intrinsic or extrinsic motivation prime. It was hypothesized that participants exposed to the intrinsic prime, relative to those exposed to the extrinsic prime, would report higher levels of intrinsic motivation, choice, and monetary worth in relation to the completed exercise session. Furthermore, these effects were only expected in the indoor recreation centre condition, with no differences expected between priming groups on any of the dependent variables in the outside condition. In support of the hypotheses, results indicated that perceived monetary value of the exercise class only differed according to prime in the indoor environment (but not in the outdoor environment). There was no evidence to support the hypotheses relating to exercise enjoyment and choice. The third investigation explored the possibility that controlled and autonomous learning conditions could alter the consumption of snack food, and also examined whether snack consumption during a controlled learning activity could increase subsequent performance on a self-regulation task. Results indicated that the autonomous learning group consumed significantly less snack food than the controlled learning group who also received food. Participants in the autonomous condition also performed better on the subsequent self-regulation task than those in the controlled-learning-and-food group, even after controlling for the amount of food consumed. Within the controlled-learning-and-food condition, there was no association between food consumption and subsequent self-regulation task performance.
|Qualification||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Publication status||Unpublished - 2013|