Interactions between heart rate, psychomotor performance and perceived effort during physical work as influenced by beta-adrenergic blockade

Biol Psychol. 1979 Feb;8(1):31-43. doi: 10.1016/0301-0511(79)90003-6.


Effects of a single intravenous dose of propranolol (0,25 mg/kg body weight) were examined in 15 healthy male subjects who performed three reaction-time tasks of different complexity, while pedalling at five work loads on a cycle ergometer. Comparisons between measurements after propranolol and after injection of a placebo solution showed a pronounced reduction of heart rate and an increase in catecholamine excretion following propranolol. Comparisons of psychomotor performance showed no significan difference between the propranolol and placebo conditions. Nor did self-estimates of perceived physical and task-induced efforts reveal any significant effects of propranolol. The results support the notion that heart rate is not a prominent cue for perceived effort.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Epinephrine / urine
  • Heart Rate / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Skills / drug effects*
  • Norepinephrine / urine
  • Physical Exertion / drug effects*
  • Propranolol / pharmacology*
  • Reaction Time / drug effects
  • Visual Perception / drug effects*


  • Propranolol
  • Norepinephrine
  • Epinephrine