"Unnecessary Illusions and the Truth about Procrastination"

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In class we covered the topic of illusions. Even though we only really covered optical illusions in class, there are plenty of other types of illusions that exist in our lives. One example of this is the illusions that we have regarding procrastination, which is a problem that all of us face. Timothy A. Pychyl compiled a list of 10 of these illusions as well as the related truths behind each one. This list can be found at http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/dont-delay/201110/unnecessary-illusions-and-the-truth-about-procrastination. He also provides a link to another article of his where he writes about processes in the brain that lead us to procrastinate. The 5 "quirks," as he calls them, are related to how the brain functions and how the brain has evolved to function. The first is that the brain prioritizes minimizing danger over maximizing reward, which causes procrastination because we prefer to do things that provide us with immediate reward, because we choose to do things that we don't believe will harm us. The second is that our brain is set to avoid uncertainty because of the potential for harm. This relates directly to procrastination because many tasks are ambiguous to some extent, so we subconsciously try to avoid them. The third quirk is that we have a limited capacity to process information, which limits our ability to predict the way that our current actions will affect our future emotions, which also affects our ability to understand how doing tasks, such as studying or doing homework, will affect our lives in the future. The fourth is that we are not very good at controlling our emotions, which severely damages our ability to regulate our actions, which stops us from being able to regulate our own behavior. The final quirk that is discussed is that our plans and goals influence what our brains pay attention to. This is very similar to the concept of facial feedback, where a person's facial expression is capable of affecting their emotions. Like many perception based illusions, the illusions that cause us to procrastinate are a result of processes in our brain.


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This page contains a single entry by grabx005 published on October 3, 2011 2:03 PM.

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