Chapter 04

For each term below, first note how you would define the term. Then, click on the arrow to reveal the book’s definition.

Action stage

Transtheoretical model stage at which a person is exercising at recommended levels for health and fitness. 

Antecedent cue

In classical conditioning, a cue that precedes a behavior.

Behavioral process

In the transtheoretical model, behaviors that a person undertakes in order to change aspects of the environment that can affect exercise participation.

Built environment

The human-made settings in which people live, work, and play, including buildings, parks, neighborhoods, cities, and their supporting infrastructure.

Classical conditioning

A theory holding that a reflexive behavior can be elicited through repeated pairings of the behavior with an antecedent cue.

Consciousness raising

Increasing one’s awareness and memory of the benefits of physical activity.

Consequent reinforcement

A reward that follows a behavior.

Contemplation stage

The stage in which a person intends to start exercising within the next six months.

Decisional balance

A model that reflects how people perceive the pros and cons of changing their behavior.

Descriptive study

Studies that simply describe characteristics of a sample or differences in variables within a sample.


System formed by the interaction of a community of living things with one another and with their physical environment. 


All of the external systems that influence a microsystem.

Experiential process

Techniques for increasing people’s awareness of, and changing their thoughts and feelings about, themselves and their exercise behaviors.


Withholding a positive stimulus after a behavior in order to decrease the likelihood of that behavior happening in the future.

Extrinsic reinforcer

A behavioral reinforcer that comes from outside the individual, such as recognition or rewards.

Instrumental conditioning

The process of instilling or changing behavior by pairing that behavior with a consequence. A positive consequence will increase the likelihood of the behavior occurring again in the future; a negative consequence will decrease its probability of occurring in the future. 

Intervention studies

In exercise psychology, research that examines the effectiveness of some type of intervention strategy to change people’s thoughts, feelings, or behaviors regarding physical activity.

Intrinsic reinforcer

A reward that comes from within the self, such as feeling good about one’s body, feeling a sense of accomplishment at the end of a workout, or simply experiencing the physical and emotional sense of well-being that accompanies exercise.


The system that encompasses all other systems; it is the larger sociocultural context in which a person resides and includes cultural values, political philosophies, economic patterns, and social conditions.

Maintenance stage

The stage of a person who has been exercising at recommended levels for a prescribed period of time (e.g., six months).


The location where interactions between microsystems take place.


The immediate systems in which people interact; in a physical activity context, these are environments where people might be physically active or where they might receive support for being physically active.

Negative reinforcer

An unpleasant or aversive stimulus that, when withdrawn after a behavior, will increase the frequency of that behavior in the future.

Policy environment

Rules, regulations, and practices that can impact physical activity through a variety of mechanisms, such as changing the built environment, providing incentives for exercising, or creating sports and recreation programs.

Positive reinforcer

Any intrinsic or extrinsic reward that increases the likelihood of a person repeating a behavior.

Precontemplation stage

The stage in which a person has no intention to start exercising in the foreseeable future.

Predictive studies

A study that attempts to predict future exercise behavior.

Preparation stage

The stage in which a person performs tasks (such as getting medical clearance or buying exercise equipment) that will prepare him or her for starting an exercise program.


An unpleasant or uncomfortable stimulus occurring after a behavior, which serves to decrease the probability of that behavior happening in the future.

Reinforcement management

The development and use of strategies for rewarding or reinforcing oneself when exercise goals are met. 


Activities that strengthen one’s commitment to change and the belief that one can change.


The process by which an individual considers how he or she feels about his or her own exercise behavior.

Social ecological model

A model based on the view that individual-level factors make up only one of multiple levels of influence on behavior.

Stimulus control

The placing of cues in the environment that will remind people to be more physically active.