Perceived exertion: Influence of expected, unexpected relief on time to exhaustion

Sidney Grospretre *, Philippe Gimenez *, Bertrand Baron ** and Alain Groslambert **

(*) Laboratory C3S, University of Franche-Comté, France
(**) Laboratory IRISEE, University of La Réunion, and Laboratory C3S, University of Franche- Comté, France


Grospretre, S., Gimenez, P., Baron, B., Groslambert, A. (2019). Perceived exertion: Influence of expected, unexpected relief on time to exhaustion. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 50(3), 239-252. doi:10.7352/IJSP.2019.50.239


This study assessed whether expected and unexpected relief induced by lis- tening to music influence perceived exertion (PE). Fifty-six participants (28 men and 28 women, M age = 23.8 ± 7.6 years) were randomly assigned to four groups: 1) CONTROL: without music, 2) R ELIEF : music is expected and delivered, 3) FRUSTRATION: music is expected but not delivered, 4) SURPRISE : music is not expected but delivered. They had to maintain a fatiguing wall-sit posture (back aligned against a wall, knee flexed at 90°) until exhaustion. In RELIEF and SURPRISE , the participants received music when they reached 9 (T9) on CR-10-Borg-scale, until exhaustion. The results revealed that SURPRISE and CONTROL reached T9 significantly (p < .05) more slowly than RELIEF . Exhaustion time was significantly lower (p < .05) in FRUSTRATION. These results suggest that expecting relief and frustration may increase PE whereas delivering expected and unexpected relief may decrease PE through a mechanism independent of exercise intensity.

Keywords: Music, Effort Tolerance, Unconscious Perception, Reward