Think before you start to study. Your neighbour can affect you: mental effort is contagious

From experience to meaning...

An interesting small Belgian study (n = 38, 20 females) by researchers from the VUB & the KU Leuven with Kobe Desender as first author tells you were to sit if you want to think really hard: next to someone who is also giving a mental effort!

How did they found out?

To investigate this, we adopted a variant of the Simon task in which two persons jointly perform the task. In a regular Simon task, one participant responds to the color of patches (e.g., blue or red) with either the left or the right hand, while ignoring its location on the screen (i.e., left or right). Typically, reaction times (RTs) are shorter and error rates lower on congruent trials, where the (task-irrelevant) location triggers the same response as the (task-relevant) color, compared to incongruent trials, where both features trigger a different response (i.e., the congruency effect). Here, two participants (A and…

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