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The Cost of Thinking - Testing a Paradigm that Measures Mental Costs

Skogsmyr, Io LU and Wiberg, Agnes LU (2016) PSYK11 20161
Department of Psychology
Abstract
Research on why we use a specific mode of thinking has long recognised the relevance of mental costs. The definition of this cost, however, has either been too abstract to be measured or focusing on metabolic costs, which currently is expensive and difficult to measure. In this experiment, we used a paradigm that measures the behavioural cost of three modes of thinking (rational reflection, emotional reflection and a comparison task) by the performance (reaction times) on a consecutive mental task (emotional and neutral Stroop). To get a measure of the participants’ habitual way of thinking, we used a questionnaire covering two pedagogic constructs: separate and connected knowing (ATTLS). Reaction times were longest following rational... (More)
Research on why we use a specific mode of thinking has long recognised the relevance of mental costs. The definition of this cost, however, has either been too abstract to be measured or focusing on metabolic costs, which currently is expensive and difficult to measure. In this experiment, we used a paradigm that measures the behavioural cost of three modes of thinking (rational reflection, emotional reflection and a comparison task) by the performance (reaction times) on a consecutive mental task (emotional and neutral Stroop). To get a measure of the participants’ habitual way of thinking, we used a questionnaire covering two pedagogic constructs: separate and connected knowing (ATTLS). Reaction times were longest following rational reflective thought, while both emotional reflective thought and a comparison task led to shorter reaction times. These differences varied with task timing, so that the reaction times following the rational task became gradually shorter, while the emotional task led to increasing reaction times. Based on these results we suggest that rational and emotional reflection add differently to mental load and hence to switching between different modes of thought. A relationship between the individual performance on rational vs emotional processing and habitual way of thinking (measured by the ATTLS questionnaire) indicated ecological validity of the measures. Taken together, the paradigm shows promise as a tool for disentangling the interaction between, and cost of, different modes of thinking. (Less)
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author
Skogsmyr, Io LU and Wiberg, Agnes LU
supervisor
organization
course
PSYK11 20161
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
task-retask, ways of knowing, CRT, cognitive dissonance, monitoring aversive affect
language
English
id
8880682
date added to LUP
2016-06-14 09:50:20
date last changed
2016-06-14 09:50:20
@misc{8880682,
  abstract     = {Research on why we use a specific mode of thinking has long recognised the relevance of mental costs. The definition of this cost, however, has either been too abstract to be measured or focusing on metabolic costs, which currently is expensive and difficult to measure. In this experiment, we used a paradigm that measures the behavioural cost of three modes of thinking (rational reflection, emotional reflection and a comparison task) by the performance (reaction times) on a consecutive mental task (emotional and neutral Stroop). To get a measure of the participants’ habitual way of thinking, we used a questionnaire covering two pedagogic constructs: separate and connected knowing (ATTLS). Reaction times were longest following rational reflective thought, while both emotional reflective thought and a comparison task led to shorter reaction times. These differences varied with task timing, so that the reaction times following the rational task became gradually shorter, while the emotional task led to increasing reaction times. Based on these results we suggest that rational and emotional reflection add differently to mental load and hence to switching between different modes of thought. A relationship between the individual performance on rational vs emotional processing and habitual way of thinking (measured by the ATTLS questionnaire) indicated ecological validity of the measures. Taken together, the paradigm shows promise as a tool for disentangling the interaction between, and cost of, different modes of thinking.},
  author       = {Skogsmyr, Io and Wiberg, Agnes},
  keyword      = {task-retask,ways of knowing,CRT,cognitive dissonance,monitoring aversive affect},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {The Cost of Thinking - Testing a Paradigm that Measures Mental Costs},
  year         = {2016},
}