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Is mental effort exertion contagious?

Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel

The presence of another person can influence task performance. What is, however, still unclear is whether per- formance also depends on what this other person is doing. In two experiments, two participants (A andB) jointly performed a Simon task, and we selectively manipulated the difficulty of the task for participant A only. This was achieved by present- ing Awith 90%congruent trials (creating an easy task requir- ing low effort investment) or 10%congruent trials (creating a difficult task requiring high effort investment). Although this manipulation is irrelevant for the task of participant B, we nevertheless observed that B exerted more mental effortwhen participant A performed the difficult version of the task, com- pared to the easy version. Crucially, in Experiment 2 this was found to be the case even when participants could not see each other’s stimuli. These results provide a first compelling dem- onstration that the exertion of effort is contagious.
Tijdschrift: Psychon Bull Rev
ISSN: 1069-9384
Volume: 23
Pagina's: 624-631
Jaar van publicatie:2016
CSS-citation score:1