Pre-Crastination: Hastening Subgoal Completion at the Expense of Extra Physical Effort

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Abstract

In this article, we describe a phenomenon we discovered while conducting experiments on walking and reaching. We asked university students to pick up either of two buckets, one to the left of an alley and one to the right, and to carry the selected bucket to the alley's end. In most trials, one of the buckets was closer to the end point. We emphasized choosing the easier task, expecting participants to prefer the bucket that would be carried a shorter distance. Contrary to our expectation, participants chose the bucket that was closer to the start position, carrying it farther than the other bucket. On the basis of results from nine experiments and participants' reports, we concluded that this seemingly irrational choice reflected a tendency to pre-crastinate, a term we introduce to refer to the hastening of subgoal completion, even at the expense of extra physical effort. Other tasks also reveal this preference, which we ascribe to the desire to reduce working memory loads. © The Author(s) 2014.

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APA

Rosenbaum, D. A., Gong, L., & Potts, C. A. (2014). Pre-Crastination: Hastening Subgoal Completion at the Expense of Extra Physical Effort. Psychological Science, 25(7), 1487–1496. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797614532657

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