Deception and perceived exertion during high-intensity running bouts

Percept Mot Skills. 2004 Jun;98(3 Pt 1):1027-38. doi: 10.2466/pms.98.3.1027-1038.


This investigation examined the overall and localized perceived exertion responses to repeated bouts of submaximal, high-intensity running when subjects were deceived. Well-trained male and female n = 40) runners were randomly assigned to four groups who completed three 1680-m bouts of running at 80-86% peak treadmill running speed. The two experimental groups, Expected Similar and Expected Increase, were deceived of the actual run intensities while the two control groups, Control Increase and Control Similar, were informed of the actual protocol. After each run, ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) were taken for the whole body, chest, legs, head, and other areas. No significant differences were found in overall RPE between deceived and control groups. However, there was a tendency for the Expected Increase group, deceived into believing the intensity would be higher than they were subsequently made to run, to experience an attenuated increase in RPE between runs compared to the control group (Control Increase) who were honestly informed. For all groups, legs and chest were given consistently higher localized exertion scores than the head and other areas. It appears that a precise system of afferent feedback mediates the overall perceived exertion response during high-intensity running, and psychological intervention that alters pre-exercise expectations has minimal feedforward effect on exertion ratings taken postexercise.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Deception*
  • Fatigue / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Habituation, Psychophysiologic
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Physical Exertion*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Running*