How Encouragement Boosts Performance

Frequent verbal encouragement leads to greater maximum effort in a treadmill test than when no encouragement is given or when the encouragement is infrequent. The reasons?

1. Dissociation: Talking to the participants might have distracted them from discomfort.

2. Reinforcement: Encouragement statements (eg Excellent !, Good job !) can be positive reinforcers.

3. Obedience to Commands: Encouragements that sound like commands might have triggered automatic obedience.

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