The Effects of Deception on Pacing Strategy, Perceptional Responses and Performance during Cycling Time Trials


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The regulation of work-rate during self-paced exercise has become a favoured topic in exercise sciences in the mechanistic investigation of fatigue. Deception has emerged as a common, practical strategy which involves the manipulation of key variables during exercise. The intentions of deception studies have typically been to explore the mechanisms of pacing behaviour and to investigate the practical implications for athletic performance. A lack of experimental consideration, however, has pertained to the importance of perceptual experiences within exercise regulation and deception research. The purpose of this research was to examine the interaction of perceptual and performance responses in self-paced cycling time trials (TT), and the effects of deception on these responses. Study 1 examined pacing strategy and the associated changes in perceptual and physiological responses during both 16.1 and 40 km cycling TTs. The work demonstrated that affect was strongly negatively associated with power output, more significantly so in a 16.1 than a 40 km TT. Studies 2 and 3 adopted deceptive strategies, using cyclists' knowledge of their own previous performance, to explore the importance of these beliefs on pacing behaviour and perceptual experiences during 16.1 km TTs. This was achieved by manipulating the visual feedback of an avatar which depicted the cyclists' previous TT performance. Prior research has most commonly explored the acute effects of deceptive exposures, therefore these studies were designed to examine both acute and residual effects. The findings support the acute facilitative effects of visual feedback on performance outcomes, but did not demonstrate an influence of deception. Furthermore, no residual performance effects were evidenced, as the improvements in performance were not sustained in a subsequent TT. These studies provide a novel insight into the effects of this feedback provision on perceptual experiences during self-paced endurance exercise. They demonstrate that affect, perceived exertion and self-efficacy are differentially influenced by the nature of the feedback provided and are therefore important constructs to consider in future research in this area
Date of Award17 Jun 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Edge Hill University
SupervisorLARS MCNAUGHTON (Director of Studies), DAVID MARCHANT (Supervisor), CRAIG BRIDGE (Supervisor) & ADRIAN MIDGLEY (Supervisor)


  • deception
  • Previous Performance
  • pacing
  • exertion
  • time trial

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