Virtual Exercise Buddy Keeps Humans Going Longer
No, she’s not real, but like Siri, the unreal female helper inside your iPhone, a virtual exercise buddy can be big help, at least if your goal is to exercise more and longer. Researchers at Michigan State University know exactly how much longer. A Michigan State news release reports that they gave 120 students five different isometric plank exercises to do with one of three same-sex partner choices. One partner was a real live human, one was a software generated partner that looked human, and the third was a software generated partner the clearly looked animated. The participant and partner image were then projected onto a screen via a web camera while exercising. What was revealed? All of the partners appeared to increase the motivation of the exerciser. Unsurprisingly, the human partner had the greatest effect, helping the exerciser hold the plank position, on average, one minute and 20 seconds longer than those with no partner, but those paired with one of the software-generated buddies still held out, on average, 33 seconds longer. The bottom line: real is best, virtual is better than none. But you knew that. Read more from Michigan State University.
Along with a human partner option, two software-generated buddies were used – one representing what looked to be a nearly human partner and another that looked animated. The participant and partner image were then projected onto a screen via a web camera while exercising.
The results showed that a significant motivational gain was observed in all partner conditions.
“Even though participants paired with a human partner held their planks, on average, one minute and 20 seconds longer than those with no partner, those paired with one of the software-generated buddies still held out, on average, 33 seconds longer,” said Feltz.
- See more at: http://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2014/cyber-buddy-is-better-than-no-buddy/#sthash.uw4KYvMy.dpuf