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n. exertion that demands attentional and other cognitive resources: a feature of many psychological tasks that can be judged reliably by participants. Effortful tasks compete against each other under dual-task conditions (see dual-task competition; dual-task performance), indicating that effortfulness correlates with demands on mental resources. Novel skills often begin in an effortful way but become more automatic with practice (see automaticity). Because the sense of effort lacks conscious sensory qualities, it can be considered an experience of fringe consciousness. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies show major blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) correlates of mental effort in the anterior cingulate cortex and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, with a wider spread of cortical BOLD activity occurring with increased effort. —effortful adj.

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February 26th 2024