The Moderating Effect of Success Importance on the Relationship Between Listening Demand and Listening Effort

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A common element of the psychophysiological research on listening effort is the focus on listening demand as determinant of effort. The article discusses preceding studies and theorizing on effort to show that the link between listening demand and listening effort is moderated by various variables. Moreover, I will present a recent study that examined the joint effect of listening demand and success importance on effort-related cardiovascular reactivity in an auditory discrimination task. Results for pre-ejection period reactivity—an indicator of sympathetic activity—supported the hypothesis that the relationship between listening demand and listening effort is moderated by other variables: Pre-ejection period reactivity was higher in the high-demand-high-success-importance condition than in the other three conditions. This new finding as well as the findings of previous research on effort suggest that a broader perspective on the determinants of listening effort is warranted.

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