Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Has Anybody Asked How People Change Their Minds? Pre-crastination and Its Underlying Basis in Decision-Making


Procrastination is much too familiar to us, a derogatory term taught to students as something to avoid, which, to teachers’ despair, counterproductively encourages students to take up procrastination as a challenge. The opposite of procrastination, pre-crastination describes the likelihood of completing tasks early at the expense of extra effort, and may be a phenomenon as common as procrastination (Rosenbaum et al., 2014). We hypothesize that fundamentally, pre-crastination is cognitively driven, given that participants offload cognitive tasks before determining the course of action. This study took place over three experiments. Our pool of UCR undergraduate participants (N=89) made two forced yes/no responses pertaining to the same stimulus in each trial. The stimuli in the first experiment was determining chronology of number sequences while the stimuli in the subsequent two experiments was determining digit-matching. The most significant alteration was made in the third experiment, in which the second response was changed from a yes/no to a confirm/disconfirm submission. This innovative testing strategy, coined double-response in our lab, allows us to correlate response time to decision-making bases. Largely, participants exhibited a significantly longer reaction time in submitting their first response. This outcome supports our cognitive hypothesis which predicts that action-planning occurs through longer first-response times, going against the behavioral hypothesis which predicts that action is taken prematurely through shorter first-response times. Ultimately, this double-response method better helps us understand the dynamics of decision-making through pre-crastination.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View