Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Ronald J. Byrd


This study was designed to investigate the effect of sex and social influence on perception of physical effort during light or heavy work by male and female athletes. Subjects performed three submaximal trials of 27 minutes each on a cycle ergometer at 25, 50 and 70% of maximum oxygen consumption in the presence of a male coactor, a female coactor, and just riding alone. The results indicated that subjects' ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) were similar when performing at all three coactor/alone conditions. No significant sex difference in RPE was found. Thus, highly trained male and female atheletes did not differ in their perception of effort during equivalent relative work load on the cycle ergometer. Discrepant findings in similar studies might be a function of the subject population; elite athletes might be significantly different from untrained subjects in perception of effort as affected by same or different sex coactors.