Mental effort: One construct, many faces?

AbstractWe can all feel exhausted after a day of work, even if we have spent it sitting at a desk. The intuitive concept of mental effort pervades virtually all domains of human information processing and has become an indispensable ingredient for general theories of cognition (Anderson, 2007; Shenhav et al., 2017; Lieder & Griffiths, 2015). However, inconsistent use of the term across cognitive sciences, including cognitive psychology, education, human-factors engineering and artificial intelligence, makes it one of the least well-defined theoretical constructs across fields. A number of recent approaches lay the foundation for a consensus by offering formal accounts of mental effort. Yet, reaching a multifield-wide consensus on the operationalization of mental effort will require cross-talk between different empirical and computational approaches, including symbolic architectures, non-parametric Bayesian statistics and neural networks. The purpose of this full-day workshop is to review and integrate these emerging perspectives.

Return to previous page