Number of pages
SourceJournal of Experimental Psychology - General, 151, 10, (2022), pp. 2324-2341
Article / Letter to editor
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PI Group Memory & Emotion
SW OZ BSI KLP
PI Group Affective Neuroscience
Journal of Experimental Psychology - General
Subject130 000 Cognitive Neurology & Memory; 230 Affective Neuroscience; Experimental Psychopathology and Treatment
In keeping with the view that individuals invest cognitive effort in accordance with its relative costs and benefits, reward incentives typically improve performance in tasks that require cognitive effort. At the same time, increasing effort investment may confer larger or smaller performance benefits - that is, the marginal value of effort - depending on the situation or context. On this view, we hypothesized that the magnitude of reward-induced effort modulations should depend critically on the marginal value of effort for the given context, and furthermore, the marginal value of effort of a context should be learned over time as a function of direct experience in the context. Using two well-characterized cognitive control tasks and simple computational models, we demonstrated that individuals appear to learn the marginal value of effort for different contexts. In a task-switching paradigm (Experiment 1), we found that participants initially exhibited reward-induced switch cost reductions across contexts - here, task switch rates - but over time learned to only increase effort in contexts with a comparatively larger marginal utility of effort. Similarly, in a flanker task (Experiment 2), we observed a similar learning effect across contexts defined by the proportion of incongruent trials. Together, these results enrich theories of cost-benefit effort decision-making by highlighting the importance of the (learned) marginal utility of cognitive effort.
This item appears in the following Collection(s)
- Academic publications 
- Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging 
- Faculty of Social Sciences 
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