A Possible Role for Emotion and Emotion Regulation in Physiological Responses to False Performance Feedback in 10 Mile Laboratory Cycling


The study investigated responses to false feedback in laboratory cycling. Seven male competitive cyclists (age; M = 34.14 years, SD = 7.40) completed two ergometer time-trials, one each with false negative and false positive feedback (time ± 5 %). MANOVA indicated main effects for condition [F(17, 104) = 9.42, p < 0.001], and mile [F(153, 849) = 1.58, p < 0.001], but no interaction [F(153, 849) = 0.470, p = 1.00]. No between-condition differences in power (F = 0.129, p = 0.720) or time to completion (F = 1.011, p = 0.338) were observed. Positive feedback was associated with higher glucose (F = 25.988, p < 0.01), happiness (F = 6.097, p = 0.015) and calmness (F = 4.088, p = 0.045). Positive feedback was also associate with lower oxygen uptake (F = 8.830, p = 0.004), anxiety (F = 5.207, p = 0.024), gloominess (F = 6.322, p = 0.013), sluggishness (F = 11.650, p = 0.001), downheartedness (F = 15.844, p = 0.001), effort required to regulate emotion (F = 13.798, p = 0.001), and a trend towards lower lactate production (F = 3.815, p = 0.053). Data suggest that positive emotions and reduced metabolic cost of performance were associated with positive feedback.

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  1. 1.

    If data do not conform to parametric assumptions, and arguably, all self-report data is ordinal and so fails at least one assumption from the outset, the researcher is faced with an option of running multiple non-parametric ANOVAs, or using MANOVA with some of the assumptions underpinning the test violated. A limitation of running multiple tests is that alpha across the study is increased. Tabachnick and Fidell (2007) argued that it is better to use MANOVA than multiple tests as it is relatively robust and so still works effectively even if one or more of the variables violate parametric assumptions. Further, they argue that the key reason for using MANOVA or multiple univariate test is a theoretical; a multivariate test should be used to answer a multivariate question.

  2. 2.

    An alternative explanation is that the same level of glucose was used in both conditions, but that more liver glucose was produced in the positive feedback condition (blood glucose levels rise in response to an exercise stimulus; Coker and Kjaer 2005). However, given the reduced oxygen uptake and ventilation also observed in the positive feedback condition, a lower metabolic cost of performance seems a more plausible explanation than that of an increase in glucose production.


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The support of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) UK is gratefully acknowledged (RES-060-25-0044: “Emotion regulation of others and self [EROS])”. We would like to thank Ross Cloak, Dr Paul Davis, Dr Tracey Devonport, Dr Helen Lane, Dr Karen Niven, and Prof Peter Totterdell who were involved in either data collection or early discussion on the design of the work.

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Correspondence to Christopher J. Beedie.

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Beedie, C.J., Lane, A.M. & Wilson, M.G. A Possible Role for Emotion and Emotion Regulation in Physiological Responses to False Performance Feedback in 10 Mile Laboratory Cycling. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback 37, 269–277 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10484-012-9200-7

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  • Anxiety, beliefs
  • Belief effects
  • Glucose, placebo effects