Exploring Goal-setting, Rewards, Self-monitoring, and Sharing to Motivate Physical Activity

Sean Munson & Sunny Consolvo

Pervasive Health 2012

Many people have turned to technological tools to help them be physically active. To better understand how goal-setting, rewards, self-monitoring, and sharing can encourage physical activity, we designed a mobile phone application and deployed it in a four-week field study (n=23).

Participants found it beneficial to have secondary and primary weekly goals and to receive non-judgmental reminders. However, participants had problems with some features that are commonly used in practice and suggested in the literature. For example, trophies and ribbons failed to motivate most participants, which raises questions about how such rewards should be designed. A feature to post updates to a subset of their Facebook NewsFeed created some benefits, but barriers remained for most participants.

GoalPost Manual (7MB pdf) · Slides (5MB PDF) · Paper

smunson at uw dot edu
423B Sieg Hall
Campus Box 352315

Seattle, WA 98195
Part of the Swellness Project

I am building and deploying a series of applications designed to support various aspects of wellness. This work will identify ways to build applications that effectively support health behavior change and will also contribute to our understanding of theories about influence and persuasion and their interactions with indvidual differences and preferences. Published work includes a study of how people use Facebook and Online Health Communities to support health goals (CSCW 2011) and a study of a social version of a positive psychology exercise (Persuasive 2010). This project is funded by Intel and the University of Michigan Rackham Graduate School.

Other research platforms: 3GT · Commitments · Steps (currently mid-overhaul!)