Domain-general cognitive motivation: evidence from economic decision-making

Jennifer L. Crawford, Sarah A. Eisenstein, Jonathan E. Peelle, Todd S. Braver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Stable individual differences in cognitive motivation (i.e., the tendency to engage in and enjoy effortful cognitive activities) have been documented with self-report measures, yet convergent support for a trait-level construct is still lacking. In the present study, we use an innovative decision-making paradigm (COG-ED) to quantify the costs of cognitive effort, a metric of cognitive motivation, across two distinct cognitive domains (working memory and speech comprehension). We hypothesize that cognitive motivation operates similarly within individuals, regardless of domain. Specifically, we test whether individual differences in effort costs are stable across domains, even after controlling for other potential sources of shared individual variation. Conversely, we evaluate whether the costs of cognitive effort across domains may be better explained in terms of other relevant cognitive and personality-related constructs, such as working memory capacity or reward sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4
JournalCognitive Research: Principles and Implications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Cognitive motivation
  • Listening effort
  • Speech comprehension
  • Working memory


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