Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Anne Wilson

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


Previous research has shown that people induced with a future-oriented time perspective were more likely to adhere to an exercise program because they were focused on the benefits of exercise and therefore better able to overcome short-term (ST) costs. The current research aimed to extend these findings by examining time perception—how close or distant the future benefits of exercise subjectively feel. Three studies examined participants’ perceptions of the ST and long-term (LT) benefits of exercise on their motivation to be physically active and their subsequent exercise behaviour. Study l found that having a future time perspective was related to higher physical fitness, and that focusing on ST benefits was related to greater levels of exercise. In Study 2, participants were induced to feel either close to, or distant from, LT benefits of exercise. We then examined participants’ rankings of ST and LT benefits. It was hypothesized that people induced to feel close to the LT benefits of exercise would rank them as more important, but the effect was non-significant. Study 3 was a 4-week longitudinal study wherein participants used Palm Pilots to receive a daily time perception manipulation and then recorded a daily log of their exercise. Participants were experimentally induced to feel subjectively close to, or distant from, the benefits of exercise experienced after 6 weeks of activity. The manipulation was generally successful at altering time perception, but there was little evidence that people who were induced to feel close to the fitness goals exercised significantly more than people induced to feel distant from the goals. Possible interpretations of the null effects are discussed, along with suggestions for future research.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season