Why do I do it?
I like to think that I work better under pressure; however, is that really the case?
I have mere weeks until college becomes something I’ll speak of in the past tense. This thought, amongst others such as the knowledge that I will soon be entering the reality that is adulthood, incites fear. It is overwhelming, a complete unknown, looming too close for comfort.
Prior to last December, never once had I turned an assignment – however big or small – in late. Then, during finals week (2018) I turned not one, but all of my final essays in late. Now, I ended up doing fine, but that is regardless of the point. I’ve always been one to procrastinate – to leave 10-page papers unwritten until the day before their due. And, although my procrastination has been more extreme since December, it is still in some way, shape, form procrastination. But, has my habit that has seemingly spun out of control a habit at all?
On my quest to find out what is going on in my brain and the brain’s of my fellow procrastinators, I found this quick (and entertaining!) video aptly titled, How To Overcome Procrastination.
Neuroplasticity. They say it, but what exactly is changing?
In a recent study from 2018, researchers from Ruhr University Bochum, Germany found that “individuals who are state oriented when it comes to initiating actions and therefore tend to hesitate or procrastinate show higher amygdala volume.” Essentially, what they found shows “…a relation between the gray matter volume of the amygdala and difficulties in initiating action (theoretically this is known as decision-related action orientation).” [Psychology Today]
This same Psychology Today article goes on to say, “This neural signature of action control maps on very well to our theoretical understanding of procrastination as a problem with emotion regulation.”
In conclusion, I offer this TED talk by Tim Urban, a chronic procrastinator. I promise it is worth all 14 minutes.
3 thoughts on “Procrastination…”
This was an awesome article to read being a fellow college student! It was really interesting to see the neurobiology of the processing of the decision to procrastinate. I am wondering, though, how the amygdala works with other structures to initiate this procrastination. And why do some people procrastinate more than others? It has to be more than just an increased amount of grey matter in the brain, because that can include a number of different psychological tendencies as well.
This is something that every college student has experienced in their life. As someone who more frequently procrastinates, what causes some people to procrastinate suddenly when they were previously fine before? I am curious about in addition to larger amygdala volume how functional connectivity works with the amygdala and Prefrontal cortex. Also, does the size of the amygdala or the amount of grey matter have a greater contribution to procrastination-like actions?
I think the topic of procrastination is very interesting, especially how it relates to the real of neuroscience. My question is whether the increase in volume of the amygdala occurs as a result of frequent procrastination, which then changes the physical brain, or whether a higher volume of the amygdala leads to increased procrastination. It would be interesting to conduct a study analyzing this effect.