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W. Jack Rejeski

For years, physiologists and psychologists have attempted to elucidate the perceptual foundations of perceived exertion and in the process have identified several psychometric variables that mediate the self-report of this experience. Recently, cognitively oriented psychologists have begun to demonstrate that our social and physical environments play a significant role in the subjective ratings of effort expenditure. Additionally, as an offshoot of attribution theory, we are now aware that perceived exertion is a topic relevant to the domain of interpersonal as well as self-perception. The present paper, then, offers an integrative review on research and theory pertinent to the perception of exertion in sport and physical activity. The framework presented emerges largely at a conceptual rather than empirical level and provides several direct challenges for future study.

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Itay Basevitch, Brooke Thompson, Robyn Braun, Selen Razon, Guler Arsal, Umit Tokac, Edson Medeiros Filho, Tonya Nascimento and Gershon Tenenbaum

The aim of the current study was to test the effectiveness of pleasant odors on perception of exertion and attention allocation. A secondary purpose was to employ a placebo-control design and measure perceived smell intensity during task performance; methods that have been overlooked in previous olfaction studies in the sport and exercise domain. Seventy-six college students (35 females, 41 males) were recruited to perform a handgrip task. They were randomly assigned to one of 4 groups: control, placebo, lavender odor, and peppermint odor. Adhesive strips were placed under the noses of those in the latter three groups. The placebo group had a strip with no odor. The lavender and peppermint odor groups had a drop of concentration on the strip. After establishing a maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) level, participants performed at 30% of their MVC level for as long as they could tolerate, during which they provided ratings of perceived exertion (or effort; RPE), attention, and smell intensity at 30s intervals, and affect every 60s. MANOVA procedures failed to reveal significant differences among the treatment and nontreatment groups on rate of perceived exertion, attention allocation, and total time duration on the task. However, statistical differences were found between both odor groups and the placebo group on perceived attention diversion. The lavender group reported that the odor diverted attention to a higher degree than both the peppermint and placebo groups. Although nonsignificant, findings revealed a trend suggesting that odors may have an effect on cognitive processes, and on performance. There is a need for additional research to better capture these effects. Directions for further research, with an emphasis on methodological issues are outlined.

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Charles J. Hardy, Evelyn G. Hall and Perry H. Prestholdt

Two experiments are reported that investigate the mediational role of social influence in the self-perception of exertion. In Experiment 1, subjects performed three 15-min trials on a cycle ergometer at 25%, 50%, and 75% VO2max, both in the presence of another performer (a coactor) and alone. The results indicated that subjects reported lower RPEs when performing with another, particularly at the moderate (50%) intensity. In Experiment 2, subjects performed one 15-min trial at 50% of VO2max, both alone and in the presence of another performer (coactor) exhibiting nonverbal "cues" that the work was either extremely easy or extremely difficult. The results indicated that subjects exposed to the low-intensity cue information reported lower RPEs than when performing alone. Mo significant differences were noted for those subjects exposed to the high-intensity cue information. These findings are discussed in terms of a self-presentational analysis. That such effects were evidenced without physiological responses (VO2, VE, HR) accompanying them supports the notion that psychological variables can play a significant role in the self-perception of exertion. These results, however, are limited to untrained individuals exercising at moderate intensities.

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Michel S. Brink, Anna W. Kersten and Wouter G.P. Frencken

A mismatch between the training exertion intended by a coach and the exertion perceived by players is well established in sports. However, it is unknown whether coaches can accurately observe exertion of individual players during training. Furthermore, the discrepancy in coaches’ and players’ perceptions has not been explained.

Purpose:

To determine the relation between intended and observed training exertion by the coach and perceived training exertion by the players and establish whether on-field training characteristics, intermittent endurance capacity, and maturity status explain the mismatch.

Methods:

During 2 mesocycles of 4 wk (in November and March), rating of intended exertion (RIE), rating of observed exertion (ROE), and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were monitored in 31 elite young soccer players. External and internal training loads were objectively quantified with accelerometers (PlayerLoad) and heart-rate monitors (TRIMPmod). Results of an interval shuttle-run test (ISRT) and age at peak height velocity (APHV) were determined for all players.

Results:

RIE, ROE, and RPE were monitored in 977 training sessions. The correlations between RIE and RPE (r = .58; P < .01) and between ROE and RPE (r = .64; P < .01) were moderate. The mean difference between RIE and RPE was –0.31 ± 1.99 and between ROE and RPE was –0.37 ± 1.87. Multilevel analyses showed that PlayerLoad and ISRT predicted RIE and ROE.

Conclusion:

Coaches base their intended and observed exertion on what they expect players will do and what they actually did on the field. When doing this, they consider the intermittent endurance capacity of individual players.

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Steven H. Doeven, Michel S. Brink, Wouter G.P. Frencken and Koen A.P.M. Lemmink

During intensified phases of competition, attunement of exertion and recovery is crucial to maintain performance. Although a mismatch between coach and player perceptions of training load is demonstrated, it is unknown if these discrepancies also exist for match exertion and recovery.

Purpose:

To determine match exertion and subsequent recovery and to investigate the extent to which the coach is able to estimate players’ match exertion and recovery.

Methods:

Rating of perceived exertion (RPE) and total quality of recovery (TQR) of 14 professional basketball players (age 26.7 ± 3.8 y, height 197.2 ± 9.1 cm, weight 100.3 ± 15.2 kg, body fat 10.3% ± 3.6%) were compared with observations of the coach. During an in-season phase of 15 matches within 6 wk, players gave RPEs after each match. TQR scores were filled out before the first training session after the match. The coach rated observed exertion (ROE) and recovery (TQ-OR) of the players.

Results:

RPE was lower than ROE (15.6 ± 2.3 and 16.1 ± 1.4; P = .029). Furthermore, TQR was lower than TQ-OR (12.7 ± 3.0 and 15.3 ± 1.3; P < .001). Correlations between coach- and player-perceived exertion and recovery were r = .25 and r = .21, respectively. For recovery within 1 d the correlation was r = .68, but for recovery after 1–2 d no association existed.

Conclusion:

Players perceive match exertion as hard to very hard and subsequent recovery reasonable. The coach overestimates match exertion and underestimates degree of recovery. Correspondence between coach and players is thus not optimal. This mismatch potentially leads to inadequate planning of training sessions and decreases in performance during fixture congestion in basketball.

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Stacey Alvarez-Alvarado, Graig M. Chow, Nicole T. Gabana, Robert C. Hickner and Gershon Tenenbaum

phases. The first phase is characterized by fluctuations in perception of exertion (i.e., instability state), whereas the second phase demonstrates a nonfluctuating increase in perception of exertion (i.e., stability state) when approaching the volitional exhaustion point. Several studies have tested the

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Luis Peñailillo, Karen Mackay and Chris R. Abbiss

the literature to assess both perceptions of exertion and a sense of effort, which although similar, may be slightly different constructs. 7 Indeed, although the terms effort and exertion are synonyms 16 and have been used interchangeably within the literature, they are not identical and differ

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Martin J. Barwood, Joe Kupusarevic and Stuart Goodall

following the topical application of an 8% menthol gel applied to the face during self-paced exercise performed at a fixed perception of exertion. 2 Menthol application induced an approximate 18% increase in total work during the study where thermal stress was applied through a water-perfused suit. 2

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Danielle M. Lambrick, Ann V. Rowlands and Roger G. Eston

This study assessed the nature of the perceived exertion response to treadmill running in 14 healthy 7–8 year-old children, using the Eston-Parfitt (E-P) Ratings of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale and a marble dropping task. For the E-P scale and the marble dropping task, the relationships between the RPE and work rate were best described as linear (R 2 = .96) and curvilinear (R 2 = .94), respectively. This study further suggests that individual respiratory-metabolic cues (oxygen uptake: O2, heart rate: HR, ventilation: V̇E) may significantly influence the overall RPE to varying degrees in young children. The E-P scale provides an intuitively meaningful and valid means of quantifying the overall perception of exertion in young, healthy children during treadmill running. The marble dropping task is a useful secondary measure of perceived exertion, which provides further insight into the nature of the perceived exertion response to exercise in young children.

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Victoria L. Goosey-Tolfrey, Nicholas J. Diaper, Jeanette Crosland and Keith Tolfrey

Background:

Wheelchair tennis players, competing in hot and humid environments, are faced with an increased risk of heat-related illness and impaired performance. This study examined the effects of head and neck cooling garments on perceptions of exertion (RPE), thermal sensation (TS), and water consumption during wheelchair exercise at 30.4 ± 0.6°C.

Methods:

Eight highly trained wheelchair tennis players (1 amputee and 7 spinal cord injured) completed two 60-min, intermittent sprint trials; once with cooling (COOL) and once without cooling (CON) in a balanced cross-over design. Players could drink water ad libitum at five predetermined intervals during each trial. Heart rate, blood lactate concentration, peak speed, TS, and RPE were recorded during the trials. Body mass and water consumption were measured before and after each trial.

Results:

Water consumption was lower in COOL compared with CON (700 ± 393 mL vs. 1198 ± 675 mL respectively; P = 0.042). Trends in data suggested lower RPE and TS under COOL conditions (N.S.). Total sweat losses ranged from 200 to 1300 mL; this equated to ~1% dehydration after water consumption had been accounted for when averaged across all trials. The ad libitum drinking volumes matched and, in some cases, were greater than the total sweat losses.

Conclusions:

These results suggest that there is a counterproductive effect of head and neck cooling garments on water consumption. However, despite consuming volumes of water at least equivalent to total sweat loss, changes in body mass suggest an incidence of mild dehydration during wheelchair tennis in the heat.