Prof. Matthew A. Stults-Kolehmainen

Columbia University, United States

Invited Speech: ‘I want to move my body – right now!’ New ideas about motivation for physical activity

Biography:

Exercise Physiologist, Yale - New Haven Hospital;
Adjunct Associate Professor, Teachers College, Columbia University, United States

Matthew Stults-Kolehmainen, PhD FACSM ACSM EP-C is an exercise physiologist (clinical role) at Yale - New Haven Hospital (New Haven, Connecticut) and Adjunct Associate Professor in Applied Physiology at Teachers College – Columbia University (New York, New York). His Ph.D. is from The University of Texas-Austin with post-doctoral and fellowship training at Yale Medical School, Teachers College - Columbia University and the University of Jyväskylä (Finland). He has authored 38 scholarly articles and book chapters. His research focuses on exercise, motivation and stress, and his clinical specialty is in bariatric surgery and the role of exercise in weight management.

Abstract:

Physically active behaviors are the product of multi-factorial processes involving cognitive, emotional and motivational factors, the latter of which has become of central interest. There has been a call to understand how motivation for physical activity works in the moment or right now. In other words, one’s motivation for movement likely varies in the moment, just as their actual movement behavior varies moment-by-moment. This conceptual understanding of motivation states stands in contrast to the more conventional understanding of motivation as relating to traits (e.g., “I am not a motivated person”) or enduring characteristics of a person (e.g., “Recently, I have felt ready to exercise”). In 2005, Kavanaugh and colleagues, first described the concept of affectively-charged motivation states (ACMS) – desires, wants, cravings and urges – as applied to health behaviors (e.g., smoking, drinking, eating snacks, etc.). Ostensibly, desires and wants are weaker motivation states while urges and cravings feel stronger, may last longer and may have a greater impact on behavior. Our group recently expanded how motivation states apply to movement and sedentary behaviors as proposed in the WANT model (Wants and Aversions for Neuromuscular Tasks). This framework describes how desires and urges to move and rest reflect a range of motivational inputs that can result in ACMS being complementary or act in opposition. Thus, they are loosely coupled and operate asymmetrically in response to various situations and a range of stimuli, from stressful circumstances to meditation. A series of 11 studies has recently been concluded to validate this model. Also, a new instrument, called the CRAVE, was developed to assess these states. These studies demonstrate that motivation states change rapidly, are highly influenced by preceding behaviors, and are related - yet distinct - from sensations of energy and fatigue. Furthermore, they operate in a circadian waveform to influence behavior.

Abstract

Prof. Matthew A. Stults-Kolehmainen

Physically active behaviors are the product of multi-factorial processes involving cognitive, emotional and motivational factors, the latter of which has become of central interest. There has been a call to understand how motivation for physical activity works in the moment or right now. In other words, one’s motivation for movement likely varies in the moment, just as their actual movement behavior varies moment-by-moment. This conceptual understanding of motivation states stands in contrast to the more conventional understanding of motivation as relating to traits (e.g., “I am not a motivated person”) or enduring characteristics of a person (e.g., “Recently, I have felt ready to exercise”). In 2005, Kavanaugh and colleagues, first described the concept of affectively-charged motivation states (ACMS) – desires, wants, cravings and urges – as applied to health behaviors (e.g., smoking, drinking, eating snacks, etc.). Ostensibly, desires and wants are weaker motivation states while urges and cravings feel stronger, may last longer and may have a greater impact on behavior. Our group recently expanded how motivation states apply to movement and sedentary behaviors as proposed in the WANT model (Wants and Aversions for Neuromuscular Tasks). This framework describes how desires and urges to move and rest reflect a range of motivational inputs that can result in ACMS being complementary or act in opposition. Thus, they are loosely coupled and operate asymmetrically in response to various situations and a range of stimuli, from stressful circumstances to meditation. A series of 11 studies has recently been concluded to validate this model. Also, a new instrument, called the CRAVE, was developed to assess these states. These studies demonstrate that motivation states change rapidly, are highly influenced by preceding behaviors, and are related - yet distinct - from sensations of energy and fatigue. Furthermore, they operate in a circadian waveform to influence behavior.