Relationship between age and physical and sedentary stimuli.
Automatic approach-avoidance tendency toward physical activity, sedentary, and neutral stimuli as a function of age, explicit affective attitude, and intention to be active
Recommendation: posted 14 February 2023, validated 15 February 2023
Lebon, F. (2023) Relationship between age and physical and sedentary stimuli.. Peer Community in Neuroscience, 100138. https://doi.org/10.24072/pci.neuro.100138
Up to now, the automatic approach-avoidance tendency towards physical activity and sedentary stimuli has been studied in various categories of the population. Previous studies showed faster reaction times (RTs) when approaching physical activity stimuli and avoiding sedentary stimuli, especially in healthy young individuals (Cheval et al., 2014; Locke & Berry, 2021). However, the whole spectrum of adulthood has never been tested within the same experiment.
A first strength of the study of Farajzadeh et al. (2023) is that they constructed an online paradigm and analyzed the results of 130 participants aged between 21 and 77 years. It should be noted that this study has been pre-registered (https://doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/7GXZR). Overall the authors performed the experiment as first described. They updated their a priori power analysis, including the highest number of predictors (six tested predictors including two interaction effects and a total of eleven predictors). This increased the planned number of participants recruited from 85 to 144. Also, in addition to planned hypotheses, exploratory analyses were conducted to test whether automatic approach-avoidance tendencies toward physical activity and sedentary behaviors were associated with explicit attitudes and the intention to be physically active across aging.
The authors recorded RTs and errors when participants had to approach/move an avatar towards/away from physical activity and sedentary stimuli.
Another strength lies in data analysis and statistical design. To avoid any misinterpretation of the results, which could arise from an increase in RTs relative to age, the authors had the foresight to measure RTs when approaching/avoiding neutral stimuli (ellipses and rectangles).
Taking into account such individuals differences, Farajzadeh et al. confirmed a main tendency to approach physical activity stimuli and to avoid sedentary stimuli throughout the lifespan.
When the participants considered physical activity as the most pleasant and enjoyable (explicit affective attitude toward physical activity), the RTs were shorter when approaching physical activity and avoiding sedentary stimuli, irrespective of age. However, the intention to be physically active did not influence the individual's RTs.
Altogether, the study by Farajzadeh et al. suggests that age and explicit attitudes modulate the time to respond to physical activity and sedentary stimuli.
Cheval, B., Sarrazin, P., and Pelletier, L. (2014). Impulsive approach tendencies toward physical activity and sedentary behaviors, but not reflective intentions, prospectively predict non-exercise activity thermogenesis. PLoS One, 9(12), e115238. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0115238
Farajzadeh, A., Goubran, M., Beehler, A., Cherkawi, N., Morrison, P., de Chanaleilles, M., Maltagliati, S., Cheval, B., Miller, M.W., Sheehy, L., Bilodeau, M., Orsholits, D., and Boisgontier, M.P. (2023) Automatic approach-avoidance tendency toward physical activity, sedentary, and neutral stimuli as a function of age, explicit affective attitude, and intention to be active. MedRxiv. https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.09.05.22279509
Locke, S. R., and Berry, T. R. (2021). Examining the relationship between exercise-related cognitive errors, exercise schema, and implicit associations. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 43(4), 345–352. https://doi.org/10.1123/jsep.2021-0031
The recommender in charge of the evaluation of the article and the reviewers declared that they have no conflict of interest (as defined in the code of conduct of PCI) with the authors or with the content of the article. The authors declared that they comply with the PCI rule of having no financial conflicts of interest in relation to the content of the article.
Matthieu P. Boisgontier is supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC; RGPIN-2021-03153), the Banting Research Foundation, Mitacs, and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI). Boris Cheval is supported by an Ambizione grant (PZ00P1_180040) from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).
Evaluation round #2
DOI or URL of the preprint: https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.09.05.22279509
Version of the preprint: 2
Author's Reply, 31 Jan 2023
Decision by Florent Lebon, posted 24 Jan 2023, validated 24 Jan 2023
Dear Dr Boisgontier,
I thank you for the point-by-point responses and the revised version of the manuscript.
While you provided all the information to respond to the reviewers' comments and mine, and you changed the manuscript accordingly, I noticed a few mistakes in the new version. Also, I think the first paragraph of the discussion could be revised to match the main results of the study (as you already did for the abstract).
Please find my comments below:
- “A total of 21,266 observations was included in the logistic mixed-effects models that had error as outcome (5,654 observations for physical activity stimuli; 5,644 observations for sedentary stimuli; 9,968 observations for neutral stimuli).”
This is unclear whether this number of observations include both error and non-error trials or only error trials (which would be surprising considering the total number of RT trials)
- Typo: “Explicit affective attitude toward physical activity decreased with aged” and “The intention to be physically active decreased with aged”
- “Model 2 (outcome = reaction time) showed a significant interaction effect between age and action direction on error”. It should be reaction time instead of error.
- “From age 36 to 57, reaction times to approach and avoid neutral activity stimuli were not statistically different”. It should be error instead of reaction time
- “Our results show faster reaction times and fewer errors when approaching compared to avoiding physical activity stimuli before 45 years of age. After this age, reaction times are faster when avoiding compared to approaching sedentary stimuli after this age. These results suggest a tendency to approach physical activity stimuli in younger adults and a tendency to avoid sedentary stimuli older adults.”
You should be more cautious when starting the discussion section, as these results correspond to uncorrected data. You should make it clearer or match the main results they reported in the abstract.
I'm looking forward to your responses, before proceeding to the final stage of the recommendation.
Evaluation round #1
DOI or URL of the preprint: https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.09.05.22279509
Author's Reply, 18 Jan 2023
Decision by Florent Lebon, posted 21 Nov 2022, validated 24 Nov 2022
Dear Ata and Matthieu,
I received the report of 2 independent reviewers. They both raised the importance and the rigor of this study, which has been pre-registered.
As suggested by both reviewers, I would recommend to revise the introduction section, by taking into account the previous literature that also makes sense to you and to deal with the affective and motivational perceptions relative to the practice of physical activity.
In order to gain in visibility (especially for readers who are not in the approach-avoidance field), could you clarify specific points in the method and statistical sections? Especially, how was measured the reaction time and what were the instructions for the participants? Regarding the age factor, did the authors split the group in 3 or in 2 (below and above 45 years old)?
As a suggestion (I leave it to the authors to decide whether it is relevant and feasible), I would propose to adopt another structure of the paper. Instead of having the classical structure (Intro, Material & Method, Results and Discussion), the authors could adopt the following structure: Intro, Result/Discussion (which quickly present the method), and Material & Method (in details). So that the readers focus on the main results and their interpretation, then go to the Method section whether they want to fully understand the statistical analysis.