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Monotonous tasks require self-control because they interfere with endogenous reward

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 December 2013

George Ainslie*
School of Economics, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa; and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Coatesville, PA 19320.


Self-control is a necessary component of subjective effort, but it depends only on farsighted motivation, with no additional, depletable resource. The aversiveness of boring tasks probably comes from their interference with endogenous reward, a new and potentially controversial concept. The self-control needed to stick with any kind of aversive experience increases as the values of the competing motives draw closer together.

Open Peer Commentary
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013 

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