Towards a common code for difficulty: Navigating a narrow gap is like memorizing an extra digit release_ud6yiftat5b3lbvgmrcj6wrnxu

by Iman Feghhi, John M. Franchak, David A. Rosenbaum

Published in Attention, Perception & Psychophysics by Springer Science and Business Media LLC.

2021   Volume 83, Issue 8, p3275-3284


<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title>What makes a task hard or easy? The question seems easy, but answering it has been hard. The only consensus has been that, all else being equal, easy tasks can be performed by more individuals than hard tasks, and easy tasks are usually preferred over hard tasks. Feghhi and Rosenbaum (<jats:italic>Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 45</jats:italic>, 983–994, 2019) asked whether task difficulty might reflect a single amodal quantity. Based on their subjects' two-alternative forced-choice data from tasks involving choices of tasks with graded physical and mental challenges, the authors showed that the difficulty of passing through a narrow gap rather than a wide gap was psychologically equivalent to memorizing an extra .55 digits. In the present study, we extended this approach by adding new arguments for the hypothesis that task difficulty might reflect a single amodal quantity (inspired by considerations of physics, economics, and the common code hypothesis for the study of perception and action), and we tested narrower gaps than before to see whether we would find a larger equivalent memory-digit. Consistent with our prediction, we obtained a value of .95. We suggest that our multi-modal two-alternative forced-choice procedure can pave the way toward a better understanding of task difficulty.
In application/xml+jats format

Archived Files and Locations

application/pdf  484.1 kB
file_faahqzcvy5ccdl7xpqpe5iv5xe (publisher) (webarchive)
Read Archived PDF
Preserved and Accessible
Type  article-journal
Stage   published
Date   2021-07-30
Language   en ?
Container Metadata
Open Access Publication
Not in DOAJ
In Keepers Registry
ISSN-L:  1943-3921
Work Entity
access all versions, variants, and formats of this works (eg, pre-prints)
Catalog Record
Revision: ecb5b55a-3c75-41c8-984d-45d8ccdf9bdb