Psychophysical bases of perceived exertion

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1982;14(5):377-81.


There is a great demand for perceptual effort ratings in order to better understand man at work. Such ratings are important complements to behavioral and physiological measurements of physical performance and work capacity. This is true for both theoretical analysis and application in medicine, human factors, and sports. Perceptual estimates, obtained by psychophysical ratio-scaling methods, are valid when describing general perceptual variation, but category methods are more useful in several applied situations when differences between individuals are described. A presentation is made of ratio-scaling methods, category methods, especially the Borg Scale for ratings of perceived exertion, and a new method that combines the category method with ratio properties. Some of the advantages and disadvantages of the different methods are discussed in both theoretical-psychophysical and psychophysiological frames of reference.

MeSH terms

  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Perception*
  • Physical Exertion*
  • Psychophysiology / methods