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"Working out for likes": An empirical study on social influence in exercise gamification

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-347
Number of pages15
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2015
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


Today, people use a variety of social and gameful (mobile) applications in order to motivate themselves and others to maintain difficult habits such as exercise, sustainable consumption and healthy eating. However, we have yet lacked understanding of how social influence affects willingness to maintain these difficult habits with the help of gamification services. In order to investigate this phenomenon, we measured how social influence predicts attitudes, use and further exercise in the context of gamification of exercise. Our results show that people indeed do "work out for likes", or in other words, social influence, positive recognition and reciprocity have a positive impact on how much people are willing to exercise as well as their attitudes and willingness to use gamification services. Moreover, we found that the more friends a user has in the service, the larger the effects are. Furthermore, the findings of the empirical study further provide new understanding on the phenomenon of social influence in technology adoption/use continuance in general by showing, in addition to subjective norms, how getting recognized, receiving reciprocal benefits and network effects contribute to use continuance.


  • Continued use, eHealth, Gamification, mHealth, Social influence, Social networking