Incentive sensitization for exercise reinforcement to increase exercise behaviors

Kyle D. Flack, Harry M. Hays, Jack Moreland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Individuals can be sensitized to the reinforcing effects of exercise, although it is unknown if this process increases habitual exercise behavior. Sedentary men and women (body mass index: 25–35 kg/m2, N = 52) participated in a 12-week aerobic exercise intervention. Exercise reinforcement was determined by how much work was performed for exercise relative to a sedentary alternative in a progressive ratio schedule task. Habitual physical activity was assessed via accelerometry. Post-intervention increases in exercise reinforcement predicted increases in physical activity bouts among those who expended over 2000 kcal per week in exercise and who compensated for less than 50 percent of their exercise energy expenditure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2487-2504
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Health Psychology
Issue number13
StatePublished - Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.


  • exercise reinforcement
  • incentive sensitization
  • moderate to vigorous physical activity bouts
  • weight loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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