Cognitive nature of procrastination

Open Access
Article
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Ekaterina ZabelinaDastan Abdrakhmanovich Smanov

Abstract: One of the typical social problems of the 21st century - procrastination - is defined as irrational postponement of desired goals indefinitely, even when aware of the negative consequences of this delay (Lay, 1997). Although possible causes of procrastination have long been cited, such as irrational beliefs (Ellis, Knaus, 1977), low self-esteem, and fear of failure (Burka, Yuen, 1983), cognitive predictors of procrastination have not been studied holistically as a system. Moreover, it remains unclear which cognitive mechanisms are involved in different types of procrastination. This study seeks to partially fill this gap by finding cognitive features of people prone to procrastination.The results of the study (N = 311) revealed differences in most of the diagnosed cognitive indicators, which suggests an important role of cognitive processes in the shaping of a procrastination tendency. Comparison of cognitive scores in the high and low procrastination groups showed that procrastinators had higher rates of cognitive closure, namely higher scores on the scales of order (p = 0.000), predictability (p = 0.052), decisiveness (p = 0.000), aspiration to cognitive closure (p = 0.000). Cognitive closure means motivation to receive an unambiguous response and cut off unnecessary, contradictory and interfering information. This is consistent with the data on higher stiffness in procrastinators (p = 0.05).Besides, procrastinators have a more pronounced frustational tolerance (p = 0.000), and a sense of self-improvement (p = 0.001). They have less vigilance (p = 0.000), but more overindulgence (p = 0.000), as well as more avoidance in decision-making (p = 0.000). Differences are also found on the temporal focus scale: people prone to procrastination are less focused not only on the future (p = 0, 000), but also on the present (p = 0, 000). Predictably, procrastinators had significantly lower levels of claims (p = 0.004) and self-esteem (p = 0.01). Procrastinators showed lower indicators of self-organization of activities: consistency (p = 0.000), purposefulness (p = 0.000), perseverance (p = 0.024), fixation (p = 0.000), self-organization (p = 0.000), orientation to the present (p = 0.000). At the same time, they have more pronounced cognitive copying strategies: avoiding behavior (p = 0.000), anxiety (p = 0.000), cognitive overestimation (p = 0.000), intolerance to stress situations (p = 0.000).The results of discriminant analysis made it possible to determine the indicators that have the greatest influence on inclusion in the group procrastinators. These are low orientation towards the present, avoidance in decision-making, vigilance, pursuit of cognitive closure, low tolerance of frustration, and low self-organization of activities. The study thus expands the understanding of the cognitive nature of procrastination. The results suggest that cognitive features such as a weak focus on the events of the present, a habit of avoiding decision-making, weakened vigilance, an increased desire for cognitive closure, low tolerance to frustration, and a low level of self-organization of activities are important predictors of procrastination.

Keywords: Cognitive, procrastination, cognitive closure, stiffness, frustational tolerance, current focus

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1003291

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