Peer Presence Increases Session Ratings of Perceived Exertion

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: This study aimed to examine the effect of peer presence on session rating of perceived exertion (RPE) responses. Method: Fourteen males, with mean (SD) age 22.4 (3.9) years, peak oxygen uptake 48.0 (6.6) mL·kg−1·min−1, and peak power output 330 (44) W, completed an incremental cycling test and 3 identical experimental sessions, in groups of 4 or 5. Experimental sessions involved 24 minutes of cycling, whereby the work rate alternated between 40% and 70% peak power output every 3 minutes. During cycling, heart rate was collected every 3 minutes, and session-RPE was recorded 10 minutes after cycling, in 3 communication contexts: in written form unaccompanied (intrapersonal communication), verbally by the researcher only (interpersonal communication), and in the presence of the training group. Session-RPE was analyzed using ordinal regression and heart rate using a linear mixed-effects model, with models fit in a Bayesian framework. Results: Session-RPE was voted higher when collected in the group’s presence compared with when written (odds ratio = 4.26, 95% credible interval = 1.27–14.73). On average, the posterior probability that session-RPE was higher in the group setting than when written was .53. Session-RPE was not different between the group and verbal, or verbal and written collection contexts. Conclusions: This study suggests that contextual psychosocial inputs influence session-RPE and highlights the importance of session-RPE users controlling the measurement environment when collecting votes.

Minett and Borg are with the School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD, Australia. Fels-Camilleri is with the Faculty of Sports Sciences, University of Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France. Bon is with the School of Mathematical Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD, Australia, and the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Mathematical and Statistical Frontiers, Brisbane, QLD, Australia. Impellizzeri is with the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia. Borg is also with the Menzies Health Inst Queensland, The Hopkins Centre, Griffith University, Brisbane, QLD, Australia, and the School of Allied Health Sciences, Griffith University, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.

Minett (geoffrey.minett@qut.edu.au) is corresponding author.

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