Effort is derived from the French word meaning “to force.” Today, it is widely used to refer to the expenditure of energy (i.e., work) to achieve a particular goal. Within psychology, effort refers to controlled attention or intentional processing that is required to complete demanding tasks that require intense attentional focus or sustained performance.
Effort was one of the subjective experiences that psychologists of the early twentieth century tried to account for as they contemplated the nature of consciousness, attention, intention, and “will.” James (1890) in his Principles of Psychology and lectures to teachers on attention distinguished between spontaneous passive attention and voluntary attention, which is “deliberate and effortful.” He stated that deliberate attention could not be sustained indefinitely, thus linking attentional effort to the idea that people have limited capacity for sustained attention.
Kahneman (1973) formalized the...
References and Readings
- Cohen, R. A. (2014) Neuropsychology of attention (2nd ed.). New York: SpringerGoogle Scholar
- James, W. (1890). The principles of psychology. New York: H. Holt and Company.Google Scholar
- Kahneman, D. (1973). Attention and effort. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
- Nuechterlein, K. H., Garmezy, N., Devine, V. T., Schulz, S. C., & Tamminga, C. A. (1989). Sustained, focused attention under high processing loads: Relevance to vulnerability to schizophrenia. Schizophrenia: Scientific progress (pp. 95–102). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar