Perception of exertion and attention allocation as a function of visual and auditory conditions

Selen Razon, Itay Basevitch, William Land, Brooke Thompson, Gershon Tenenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Aim: The aim of the present study was to test the role of auditory (e.g., music) and visual sensory modalities on perceived levels of exertion and attention processes across a 30% dynamometer-squeezing task. The study explored the dynamics embedded within the automated nature of the association-dissociation shift process. Method: Sixty young adults (33 male and 27 female; Mage = 22.21 yrs, SD = 3.49) were recruited to perform a handgrip-squeezing task. They were randomly assigned to 4 groups of 15 participants. After establishing the maximal squeezing value they performed 30% max squeezing-task under one of four assigned condition: full vision and preferred music, full vision and no music, blindfolded and preferred music, and blindfolded and no music until volitional fatigue. Rate of perceived exertion and attention strategies were administered at 30 s intervals. Results: A set of Repeated Measures ANOVAs indicated an additive effect of visual and auditory cues on the perception of exertion, and the dynamic pattern of attention shift. Participants who were given both forms of sensory information remained in a dissociative strategy for a significantly longer duration than participants in all other conditions. Conclusions: Several sensory modalities are required to affect perceived exertion and attention allocation while engaging in demanding workload. External stimuli may serve as mediating agents in diverting attention away from internal and painful stimuli. This distraction may likely contribute to the pleasantness of the exercise experience, ultimately leading to increased exercise participation and reduced dropout rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)636-643
Number of pages8
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Attention
  • Effort
  • Exercise
  • Music
  • Vision


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