AIS Transactions on Human-Computer Interaction


Cognitive fit theory (CFT) has emerged as a dominant theoretical lens to explain decision performance when using data representations to solve decision making tasks. Despite the apparent consensus regarding cognitive effort's theoretical criticality in CFT-based research, researchers have made limited attempts to evaluate and empirically measure cognitive effort and its impact. Unlike prior CFT-based literature that has theorized only the role of cognitive effort, in our empirical study, we presented information and tasks to 68 participants and directly measured cognitive effort to understand how cognitive fit impacts it and how it impacts decision performance. We found that 1) cognitive fit had an impact on cognitive effort only for more complex tasks and 2) cognitive effort had an impact on decision performance time but not on decision performance accuracy. These findings enhance our understanding of an established IS theory and encourage more research on the cognitive underpinnings of CFT.