The current paper describes research that is aimed at elucidating our understanding of media technology factors that may help users of exercise equipment to stay motivated for doing regular workouts. In particular, we investigated the effects of immersion and coaching by a virtual agent on intrinsic motivation and the sense of presence of participants cycling on a stationary home exercise bike. A basic two-by-two within-subjects experimental design was employed whereby participants were presented with a virtual racetrack with two levels of immersion (high vs. low) and two levels of a virtual coach (with vs. without). Results indicate a clear positive effect of immersion on both motivation and presence. The virtual coach significantly lowered the perceived control and pressure/tension dimensions of intrinsic motivation, but did not affect the enjoyment dimension. The presence of the virtual coach also reduced negative effects associated with VEs, such as feeling dizzy or nauseated.

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