Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


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% of VO(,2) max, 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 VO(,2) max, 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 cue-intensity information reported lower RPEs than when performing alone. No significant differences were noted for those subjects exposed to the high cue-intensity information. These findings were discussed in terms of a self-presentational (the motive to "look good" in comparison to other performers) analysis. That such effects were evidenced without physiological responses (VO(,2), V(,E), HR) accompanying them supports the notion that psychological variables can play a significant role in the self-perception of exertion. Moreover, these results extend this notion to variables of a cognitive social psychological nature. These results, however, are limited to untrained individuals working at moderate work levels.