Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Cay Anderson-Hanley




excercize, behavior, live social presence, workout


This study evaluated the effects of virtual and live social facilitation on exercise behavior using a cybercycle, a virtual reality-enhanced stationary bike, with 3D scenery and interactive races. Research has shown that social presence can enhance performance (Zajonc, 1965). Research with the cybercycle found that more competitive participants increased exercise intensity with the introduction of a virtual competitor (Snyder et al., 2010). The current study extended the prior experimental design by comparing virtual with live social presence. After training to ride the cybercycle, female college students rode in the presence of a virtual rider and live rider (randomly ordered); a gender-matched confederate adjusted performance to keep the level of challenge in both conditions consistent. It was hypothesized that more competitive riders would exhibit greater exercise intensity (watts) in the virtual vs. live condition. Competitiveness, mood and exercise attitudes were measured. Results from 23 female participants indicate that competitiveness moderated exercise effort, such that more competitive riders rode more intensely in the presence of a virtual vs. live competitor (p=.04). Implications suggest that for more competitive persons, exercising with a live competitor yields greater exercise effort and may be recommended for maximizing the benefit of workouts.