Deceptively-Altered Visual Feedback Alters 4km Cycling Time Trial Performance in Trained Cyclists

J Westbrooks, R Prichett, M Fisher, K Pritchett



The brain maintains a performance reserve capacity by regulating fuel utilization. One method of overriding the governor is the utilization of deception. The purpose of this study is to examine the effect of deceptively-modified feedback on time to completion during a laboratory based 4000m time trial.



12 trained cyclists (8 Male, 4 Female) age 41.6 ±12.3 years with a mean peak aerobic capacity of 51.3±6.5ml/kg/min. Participants completed a VO2 peak test followed by two baseline 4km time trials without the influence of a virtual avatar competitor. The participants completed two more time trials in randomized order competing against an avatar representing 100% (control) or 102%(deception) of their fastest baseline trial.  Participants were told that they were competing against their previous fastest baseline trial during time trials 3 and 4.



Time to completion during the deception condition was shorter than the control condition -3.62±0.8sec p=.004 95% CI [-5.99, -1.24]. Average power output was greater during the deception trial compared to the control trial 7.1±2.28w p=.033 95% CI [0.55, 13.66]. Power output was greater during the deception trial at 30% and 40% of the trial compared to the control trial 12.0±2.4w p=.001 95% CI [5.36, 18.6] and 12.4±2.5w p=.001 95% CI [5.5, 19.4]. Rating of Perceived Exertion was lower during the first 25% of the deception trial compared to the control -1±.348 p=.046 95% CI [-1.98, -.018].


Discussion and Conclusions

It is possible a lower RPE during the first 25% of the time trial allowed for increased power output during the middle portion of the deception trial. The increased power output could have led to the improved time to completion in the deception trial.

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Journal of Science and Cycling (JSC). eISSN: 2254-7053. Cycling Research Center, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Carretera Jaén s/n Km. 426.5. Pulianas-Granada CP 18197 (Pol. ASORIA).