Optimizing self-regulation of performance: is mental effort a cue?

Sarah Blissett*, Matthew Sibbald, Ellen Kok, Jeroen van Merrienboer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Accurate self-regulation of performance is important for trainees. Trainees rely on cues to make monitoring judgments to self-regulate their performance. Ideally, cues and monitoring judgements accurately reflect performance, as measured by cue diagnosticity (the ability of a cue to predict performance) and monitoring accuracy (the ability of a monitoring judgement to predict performance). However, this process is far from perfect, emphasizing the need for more accurate cues and monitoring judgements. Perhaps the mental effort of a task could be a cue used to inform certainty judgements. The purpose of this study is to measure cue utilization and cue diagnosticity of mental effort and monitoring accuracy of certainty for self-regulation of performance. Focused on the task of ECG interpretation, 22 PGY 1-3 Internal Medicine residents at McMaster University provided a diagnosis for 10 ECGs, rating their level of certainty (0-100%) and mental effort (Paas scale, 1-9). 220 ECGs completed by 22 participants were analyzed using path analysis. There was a negative moderate path coefficient between certainty and mental effort (=-0.370, p

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)891-898
Number of pages8
JournalAdvances in Health Sciences Education
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • Cognitive load
  • Diagnostic certainty
  • Self-regulation
  • Mental effort

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