Cognitive Effort-based Decision-making & Task Preferences

Alyssa Amanda Randez, Purdue University


Individual differences in cognitive effort-based decision-making can reveal the variety of decision strategies used in action valuations. For example, factors such as how challenging an action is or how much reward can be gained are often considered when weighing how valuable an action is. Experiment 1 considers task preferences offered at different demand levels (i.e., the degree of challenge) to determine whether decision-making strategies are related primarily to 1) demand levels, 2) individual capability, or 3) task components. Results suggest that participants’ decisions were primarily driven by task options rather than their performance. Experiment 2 then compares task preferences in different incentive-related conditions. While the majority of decisions were in the predicted direction (favoring lower demand levels and higher monetary amounts), there were individual differences that suggested valuations of both task options as well as incentive conditions. The results of these experiments suggest individuals use various decision strategies involving factors that may have been overlooked in past research. These findings challenge the assumption that task preferences are primarily related to how challenging an action is and instead suggest that preferences may be highly susceptible to experimental design factors as well as factors intrinsic to the individual.




Foti, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Design|Cognitive psychology|Energy|Psychology

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