Szekely M & Michael J (2020) The Sense Of Effort: a Cost-Benefit Theory of the Phenomenology of Mental Effort. Review of Philosophy and Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13164-020-00512-7
In the current paper, we articulate a theory to explain the phenomenology of mental effort. The theory provides a working definition of mental effort, explains in what sense mental effort is a limited resource, and specifies the factors that determine whether or not mental effort is experienced as aversive. The core of our theory is the conjecture that the sense of effort is the output of a cost-benefit analysis. This cost-benefit analysis employs heuristics to weigh the current and anticipated costs of mental effort for a particular activity against the anticipated benefits. This provides a basis for spelling out testable predictions to structure future research on the phenomenology of mental effort.
Mental effort; Motivation; Cognitive control; Apathy
Output Status: Forthcoming/Available Online
Review of Philosophy and Psychology