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Cognitive effort is a concept of unquestionable utility in understanding human behaviour. However, cognitive effort has been defined in several ways in literature and in everyday life, suffering from a partial understanding. It is common to say “Pay more attention in studying that subject” or “How much effort did you spend in resolving that task?”, but what does it really mean? This contribution tries to clarify the concept of cognitive effort, by introducing its main influencing factors and by presenting a formalism which provides us with a tool for precise discussion. The formalism is implementable as a computational concept and can therefore be embedded in an artificial agent and tested experimentally. Its applicability in the domain of AI is raised and the formalism provides a step towards a proper understanding and definition of human cognitive effort.
Longo. L. & Barrett, S. (2010). A computational analysis of cognitive effort. Intelligent Information and Database Systems, pp.65-74.