ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2021, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (4): 586-596.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.00586

• Conceptual Framework • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Developmental cognitive mechanism and neural basis of procrastination

FENG Tingyong, WANG Xueke, SU Ti   

  1. Faculty of Psychology, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China
  • Received:2020-06-12 Online:2021-04-15 Published:2021-02-23

Abstract: Procrastination, as Steel (2007) reviewed, is the phenomenon that individuals voluntarily delay to start or complete an intended course of action despite expecting to be worse off for the delay. The previous studies have indicated that chronic procrastination exists in different cultural backgrounds, with about 15%~20% of adults troubled. Academically, more than 40% of students admit to academic procrastination, and some may even suffer from chronic tendencies. Obviously, putting off the task irrationally not only does harm to individuals’ study, work, emotion, but also endangers mental health. However, little is known about procrastination concerning the core mechanism of origin, the critical period of its formation, and its corresponding underlying neural substrates. To fill this gap, the current study investigates the core mechanism of procrastinated decision-making, especially the cognitive and neural mechanisms of long-term value evaluation, delay discounting and self-control, which rely on the Temporal Decision Model (TDM) we outlined. In addition, on the basis of child development, we further aim to clarify the formation of the critical period and ascertain the relevant factors and corresponding neural mechanisms from a behavior-environment-brain perspective. What’s more, considering intervention for procrastination and malleability of the brain, we would also shed light on how to prevent or intervene the procrastination in these critical periods. Thus, the current project can reap enormous scientific contributions to clarify the neurocognitive mechanism and the rules of development of procrastination, and further obtain the practical significance for the prevention and intervention against procrastination.

Key words: procrastination, decision-making, time discounting, neural basis, intervention

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