Effort in daily life: Relationships between experimental tasks and daily experience

Adam J. Culbreth, Andrew Westbrook, Todd S. Braver, Deanna M. Barch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Recently, experimental tasks have been developed that index individual differences in willingness to expend effort for reward. However, little is known regarding whether such measures are associated with daily experience of effort. To test this, 31 participants completed an ecological momentary assessment (EMA) protocol, answering surveys regarding the mental and physical demand of their daily activities, and also completed 2 effort-based decision-making tasks: the Effort Expenditure for Rewards Task (EEfRT) and the Cognitive Effort Discounting (COGED) Task. Individuals who reported engaging in more mentally and physically demanding activities via EMA were also more willing to expend effort in the COGED task. However, EMA variables were not significantly associated with EEfRT decisionmaking. The results demonstrate the ecological, discriminant, and incremental validity of the COGED task, and provide preliminary evidence that individual differences in daily experience of effort may arise, in part, from differences in trait-level tendencies to weigh the costs versus benefits of actions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-308
Number of pages6
JournalMotivation Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Ecological monetary assessment
  • Effort-based decision-making
  • Motivation


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