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Maximising utility does not promote survival

  • Daniel B. Cohen (a1) and Lauren L. Saling (a2)


We argue that maximising utility does not promote survival. Hence, there is no reason to expect people to modulate effort according to a task's opportunity costs. There is also no reason why our evaluation of the marginal opportunity costs of tasks should predictably rise with repetition. Thus, the opportunity cost model cannot explain why tasks typically become harder over time.



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Arai, T. (1912) Mental fatigue. Teachers College, Columbia University, New York.
Huxtable, Z. L., White, M. H. & McCartor, M. A. (1946) A re-performance and re-interpretation of the Arai Experiment in mental fatigue with three subjects. Psychological Monographs 59(5):52.


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