Negative body perceptions are a major predictor of physical inactivity, a serious health concern. Sensory feedback can be used to alter such body perception; movement sonification, in particular, has been suggested to affect body perception and levels of physical activity (PA) in inactive people. We investigated how metaphorical sounds impact body perception and PA. We report two qualitative studies centered on performing different strengthening/flexibility exercises using SoniBand, a wearable that augments movement through different sounds. The first study involved physically active participants and served to obtain a nuanced understanding of the sonifications’ impact. The second, in the home of physically inactive participants, served to identify which effects could support PA adherence. Our findings show that movement sonification based on metaphors led to changes in body perception (e.g., feeling strong) and PA (e.g., repetitions) in both populations, but effects could differ according to the existing PA-level. We discuss principles for metaphor-based sonification design to foster PA.
The ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (https://chi2021.acm.org/)