This paper attempts to explore the manner in which fitness tracking devices enable positive reinforcement in young Indians.
Benson Rajan, Associate Professor, Jindal School of Journalism & Communication, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.
There has been an explosion of wearable fitness-tracking consumer devices in India. The body and its functions are now visually analysable using these bands. The notion of being mindful about the body is fused with a fitness culture. This culture is supported by a growing market for fitness commodities that work towards transforming the self into computable data.
This paper attempts to explore the manner in which fitness tracking devices enable positive reinforcement in young Indians. The primary means of data collection for the study was in-depth interviews with young adults (18 to 25 years of age). The participants expressed an affective relationship with the devices, especially the impact of data visuals that was a motivational factor in improving user performance. The study uses the Self-Determination Theory to map user motivation around fitness devices. The qualitative findings revealed the usage of fitness trackers in young Indians to be a private endeavour. While participants felt a positive sense of agency with the devices, they were also averse to the idea of competing within virtual fitness community.
Published in: Health and New Media Research
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