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

Sidney Grospretre1, Philippe Gimenez1, Bertrand Baron2 and Alain Groslambert1

1 Laboratory C3S, University of Franche-Comté, Besançon France
2 Laboratory IRISEE, University of La Réunion, and Laboratory C3S, University of Franche-Comté, France

This study assessed whether expected and unexpected relief induced by listening to music influence perceived exertion (PE). Fifty-six participants (28 men and 28 women, Mage = 23.8 ± 7.6 years) were randomly assigned to four groups: 1) CONTROL: without music, 2) RELIEF: 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