Cue Awareness in Avoiding Effortful Control. (2018).  /

Cue Awareness in Avoiding Effortful Control (in press)

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Description: Based on a cue-based metacognitive account, cognitive effort is the result of an inferential evaluation made over explicitly available cues. Following from this account, we present here a pre-registered experiment that tested the specific hypothesis that explicit awareness of cues that are aligned with cognitive demand is a prerequisite in avoiding effortful lines of action. We attempted to modulate levels of effort avoidance behavior by introducing an incentive (between-subjects) to monitor two lines of action that, unbeknownst to individuals, varied in the probability of a task switch. Importantly, previous research has demonstrated that the difference in these probabilities is relatively opaque to individuals. We did not find strong evidence for our incentive manipulation having an effect on demand avoidance as indexed by individuals’ choices in a block of the task where avoiding effort was instructed. However, when considering awareness generally, we do find that being aware of the task-switching cue appears to increase the likelihood of demand avoidance. We consider these results within the context of the metacognition of cognitive effort.

License: CC0 1.0 Universal

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