Effect of Exercise and Sham Exercise Trackers on Perceived Workout Intensity and Mood in College Students


  • Elizabeth J. Scott Coastal Carolina University, Department of Psychology, Coastal Carolina University, P.O. Box 261954, Conway, South Carolina, 29528-6054, United States
  • Terry F. Pettijohn II Coastal Carolina University, Department of Psychology, Coastal Carolina University, P.O. Box 261954, Conway, South Carolina, 29528-6054




Exercise is an essential contributor to both physical and mental health and is a significant part of a person’s overall lifestyle. With the increasing popularity of exercise trackers, researchers were interested in the effects of sham exercise trackers on perceptions of workouts and affect. Researchers predicted participants wearing a sham Fitbit band would report greater perceptions of workout intensity, challenge, and satisfaction compared to those without sham Fitbit bands. In addition, those wearing sham Fitbit bands were predicted to report greater positive affect and lower negative affect than those without bands. One hundred twenty student participants (60 in each group; one group with a sham Fitbit and one group with no Fitbit) were recruited from campus workout classes of Zumba, spinning, and body sculpting. Participants worked out and completed a PANAS survey, plus other workout perception questions. When using a sham Fitbit, participants believed the workout was more intense, physically challenging, and they were more satisfied with their workout. However, presence of a sham Fitbit band did not significantly affect mood. Results suggest that knowledge of wearing an exercise tracker, even without any workout data feedback, has an effect on workout perceptions, but has little effect on mood.


Exercise, Mood, Fitbit, PANAS, Zumba, Spinning, Body sculpting


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How to Cite

Scott, E. J., & Pettijohn II, T. F. (2021). Effect of Exercise and Sham Exercise Trackers on Perceived Workout Intensity and Mood in College Students. Journal of Psychological Research, 3(1), 1–6. https://doi.org/10.30564/jpr.v3i1.2541


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