These findings have important real world implications. If making choices depletes executive resources, then "downstream" decisions might be affected adversely when we are forced to choose with a fatigued brain. Indeed, University of Maryland psychologist Anastasiya Pocheptsova and colleagues found exactly this effect: individuals who had to regulate their attention - which requires executive control - made significantly different choices than people who did not.
The name brings to mind Etienne Wenger's pioneering work in observing naturally occurring use of virtual environments by engineers. The problem was that when people went from a researcher's description of what had grown naturally in the past to a prescriptive recipe, things went wrong.
Ohio State University students who used the devices to answer multiple-choice questions during physics lectures earned final examination scores that were around 10 percent higher - the equivalent of a full-letter grade -- than students who didn't.
There is not a lot of critical or analytical writing on learning in the business press, so this article by Amy Ednondson is an important one. She makes the distinction between Execution-as-Efficiency and Execution-as-Learning.
I stepped on the toes of many data presentation purists yesterday, so let me reiterate my point to make it crystal clear: In a presentation to non-scientists (or to bored scientists), the purpose of a chart or graph is to make one point, vividly.