From effort to value: Preschool children’s alternative to effort justification

Avi Benozio*, Gil Diesendruck

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


In the current studies, we addressed the development of effort-based object valuation. Four- and 6-year-olds invested either great or little effort in order to obtain attractive or unattractive rewards. Children were allowed to allocate these rewards to an unfamiliar recipient (dictator game). Investing great effort to obtain attractive rewards (a consonant situation) led 6-year-olds, but not 4-year-olds, to enhance the value of the rewards and thus distribute fewer of them to others. After investing effort to attain unattractive rewards (a dissonant situation), 6-year-olds cognitively reduced the dissonance between effort and reward quality by reappraising the value of the rewards and thus distributing fewer of them. In contrast, 4-year-olds reduced the dissonance behaviorally by discarding the rewards. These findings provide evidence for the emergence of an effort-value link and underline possible mechanisms underlying the primacy of cognitive versus behavioral solutions to dissonance reduction.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1423-1429
Number of pages7
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2015.


  • Avoidance
  • Cognitive development
  • Decision making
  • Judgment
  • Rewards


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