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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Procrastination and the Intention-Behavior Gap


Procrastination is universal but not monolithic; a second dimension, the Intention–Behavior Gap (IBG), has been suggested to be relevant. The IBG is the difference between one’s intentions and one’s behavior. So far, the IBG has not been directly measured within a behavioral experiment. We assigned subjects a week to work on a lengthy online reading task. Before the task started, subjects reported their plan by the number of reading units for each day. We found great variability in their plans, actual time course and the difference between the two (IBG). The time course of work ranged from completing earlier than planned to not finishing. We calculated correlations between the mean unit completion day, the IBG, the Causal Dimension Scale, indices of regret and satisfaction, and scales for procrastination (General, Active and Irrational). Besides the correlations expected based on definitions, we did not find any significant correlations.

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