Differences in Procrastinator Brains

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  • Thread starter jedishrfu
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Main Question or Discussion Point

https://bigthink.com/evan-fleischer/procrastinators-brains-are-different-than-those-who-get-things-done

Daydreaming is important — studies have repeatedly said as much — but maybe you shouldn’t daydream too much, as a recent study by researchers at Ruhr-Universität Bochum has come to the conclusion that — after looking at MRI scans of 264 individuals — the brains of doers differ from those of procrastinators.
 

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Laroxe
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A few words of caution with this sort of study.

There is a very influential set of cultural beliefs in management, perhaps most noticeable in the US which attaches clear value statements about certain patterns of behaviour, they also believe that these can be reliably predicted, often using personality measures. Their use is very widespread and is currently a $500 million dollar industry widely used in selection.
Its thought that employees who are extrovert, social, action orientated, have clear goals, have high self efficacy beliefs and hold a positive outlook are the most valuable type of employee. A particular movement called Positive psychology has developed alongside these ideas which supports these views and provides guidance of how these traits can be developed in individuals and used to enhance productivity. Positive psychology is rather like real psychology with any connection to reality removed......perhaps.

Decision related Action Orientation (AOD) is considered as part of self regulation, in positive psychology this is split into two behavioural types, those with a Promotion Focus: those motivated to succeed in their goals and who are action orientated and more persistent.
Then there are people who have a Prevention Focus: Who value security and the avoidance of problems. They may be less persistent in the face of problems.

Even though AOD is recognised to be an experience based motivational state, it appears to be treated like an enduring trait a part of personality and a great deal of research considers rating scales as providing some sort of predictive validity.

As there are already huge problems with well established personality scales this should be something of a red flag. Perhaps bigger problems come from studies that clearly indicate that it doesn't represent an enduring predisposition, nor does it reliably predict outcomes.

http://ftp.zew.de/pub/zew-docs/veranstaltungen/NCS_Konferenz/presentations/Achtziger.pdf

We then come to the supposed associations as revealed by fMRI studies, which as a tool of research has always been controversial. Perhaps the most controversial area has been in its use in studies of cognition, particularly social cognition.

The “neuroskeptic” a British Neuroscientist provides a nice critique of such a study, which highlights the problems. The second links to his wider discussions with multiple links to original papers.

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/2009/11/28/the-acting-brain/#.W5AqdDFw2Ao

http://discovermagazine.com/search?q=fMRI+and+cognition&blog=18
 

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