Assessing willingness to invest cognitive effort: Validity of the cognitive effort discounting paradigm in a high-school sample
Dutch high-school students are among the least motivated compared to students from other developed countries. Why is that? Because they lack the cognitive abilities or because they lack the willingness/motivation to use their cognitive abilities? This study assessed the test-retest reliability and validity of an adapted version of the cognitive effort discounting (COGED) paradigm in high-school students (VMBO) in the Netherlands. The COGED paradigm has earlier been used to assess individual differences in the willingness to invest cognitive effort in adults and children. We investigated whether willingness to invest cognitive effort, as measured by the COGED task, was related to self-reported and teacher-assessed measures of cognitive motivation. Furthermore, we explored to what extent it was related to cognitive abilities. Results indicated that the paradigm yielded reliable, but no valid results within this sample. Results are discussed in light of self-determination theory and practical implications are considered for future studies.