Comparing effort perception in individual and joint action contexts

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Description: In order to sustain cooperation, it is important that we have a sense that the distribution of efforts is fair. But how proficient are we at comparing our effort relative to that of others? Does the perception of our effort differ in individual and joint action contexts? To address these questions, we asked participants to squeeze a hand dynamometer at varying degrees of force to meet three target levels alone and with a partner. The results do not reveal a significant difference in the perception of effort between the two conditions. However, participants’ estimation of their effort skewed towards half when they made partial contribution to the target and this effect was more pronounced in the joint action. Taken together, the findings suggest that participants might have applied heuristics when perceiving their effort and in addition, expected fairness in the effort contribution in a joint action context.

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