How does the finish line affect runners?


The finish line has a significant impact on runners primarily through psychological and perceptual changes. According to Emily Balcetis, when people perceive the finish line as closer, it alters their mindset, making the task seem less daunting. This perception generally leads to improved performance, as individuals believe more in their abilities and resources to meet the challenge. Balcetis explains that a narrowed focus of attention can make the finish line appear closer, reducing perceived effort and increasing efficiency, as people move faster and experience less discomfort 1.

Justin Su’a also discusses a similar concept known as the goal gradient effect, where individuals tend to increase their effort as they get closer to their goal. This phenomenon is prevalent among elite athletes, who often have a vivid and clear image of their objectives. As they approach the finish line or their goal, their drive and effort intensify, which helps them maintain high performance levels and stay motivated even when facing challenges 2.

The Power of Perception

Emily shares how changing our focus of attention can improve exercise performance and efficiency. By narrowing our scope of attention, we can experience a sense of closeness to our goals, leading to increased self-efficacy and motivation. Embracing the perception-reality gap can be a powerful tool for achieving success in exercise and beyond.

The Knowledge Project

6 Life-Changing Philosophical Insights | The Knowledge Project Podcast 170