Deception studies manipulating centrally acting performance modifiers: a review.

Emily L Williams, Hollie S Jones, Sandy Sparks, David Marchant, Dominic Micklewright, Lars McNaughton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
95 Downloads (Pure)


Athletes anticipatorily set, and continuously adjust pacing strategies prior to and during events, in order to produce optimal performance. Self-regulation ensures maximal effort is exerted in correspondence with the endpoint of exercise, whilst preventing physiological changes that are detrimental and disruptive to homeostatic control. The integration of feedforward and feedback information, together with the proposed brain’s performance modifiers, are said to be fundamental to this anticipatory and continuous regulation of exercise. Manipulation of central, regulatory internal and external stimuli has been a key focus within deception research, attempting to influence the self-regulation of exercise and induce improvements in performance. Methods of manipulating performance modifiers such as unknown task endpoint, deceived duration or intensity feedback, self-belief or previous experience creates a challenge within research, as although they contextualise theoretical propositions, there are few ecological and practical approaches which integrate theory with practice. Additionally the different methods and measures demonstrated in manipulation studies have produced inconsistent results. This review examines and critically evaluates the current methods of how specific centrally-controlled performance modifiers have been manipulated, within previous deception studies. From the 31 studies reviewed, 10 reported positive effects on performance, encouraging future investigations to explore the mechanisms responsible for influencing pacing, and consequently how deceptive approaches can further facilitate performance. The review acts to discuss the use of expectation manipulation not only to examine which methods of deception are successful in facilitating performance, but also to understand further the key components used in the regulation of exercise and performance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1441-1451
Number of pages11
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Issue number7
Early online date1 Jul 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014


  • Central governor model
  • exertion
  • expectations
  • pacing strategy
  • regulation

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