Improvements in cycling time trial performance are not sustained following the acute provision of challenging and deceptive feedback

Hollie S Jones, Emily Williams, David Marchant, Andy Sparks, Craig Bridge, Adrian Midgley, Lars McNaughton

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15 Citations (Scopus)
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The provision of performance-related feedback during exercise is acknowledged as an influential external cue used to inform pacing decisions. The provision of this feedback in a challenging or deceptive context allows research to explore how feedback can be used to improve performance and influence perceptual responses. However, the effects of deception on both acute and residual responses have yet to be explored, despite potential application for performance enhancement. Therefore, this study investigated the effects of challenging and deceptive feedback on perceptual responses and performance in self-paced cycling time trials (TT) and explored whether changes in performance are sustained in a subsequent TT following the disclosure of the deception. Seventeen trained male cyclists were assigned to either an accurate or deceptive feedback group and performed four 16.1 km cycling TTs; (1 and 2) ride-alone baseline TTs where a fastest baseline (FBL) performance was identified, (3) a TT against a virtual avatar representing 102% of their FBL performance (PACER), and (4) a subsequent ride-alone TT (SUB). The deception group, however, were initially informed that the avatar accurately represented their FBL, but prior to SUB were correctly informed of the nature of the avatar. Affect, self-efficacy and RPE were measured every quartile. Both groups performed PACER faster than FBL and SUB (p < 0.05) and experienced lower affect (p = 0.016), lower self-efficacy (p = 0.011), and higher RPE (p < 0.001) in PACER than FBL. No significant differences were found between FBL and SUB for any variable. The presence of the pacer rather than the manipulation of performance beliefs acutely facilitates TT performance and perceptual responses. Revealing that athletes' performance beliefs were falsely negative due to deceptive feedback provision has no effect on subsequent perceptions or performance. A single experiential exposure may not be sufficient to produce meaningful changes in the performance beliefs of trained individuals beyond the acute setting.

Original languageEnglish
Article number399
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Issue numberSEP
Early online date21 Sept 2016
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sept 2016


  • Cycling
  • Deception
  • Endurance performance
  • Feedback
  • Pacing
  • Previous performance
  • Self-efficacy


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