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How The Internal Activities Of The Brain Cause Individuals To Procrastinate

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The question above is focusing on the study of the way our brains function that allows us to procrastinate causing us to postpone tasks that we have to get done and instead focusing on more satisfying activities. When we procrastinate we allow our bodies to focus on activities where our brains produce high amounts of dopamine. Procrastination isn't just a lack of self-motivation and laziness but it's mainly due to the internal activities your brain processes. There are several internal parts of our brain that cause procrastination; many of these internal factors I will be discussing and providing studies that have been done to further support the question this inquiry will be focusing on. Referring to research done by (Ferrari, Joseph) it is proven that about 20% of individuals are known to be chronic procrastinators, and furthering this reasoning about how and why these individuals procrastinate due to internal processes by providing different studies and evidence (Jaffe, Eric).

Evidence #1: Internal process of a procrastinator

Elaboration: Scientists have examined about 264 individuals using MRI to look at different regions of the brain and to find correlations between the different sections of the brain and how one section can affect another section of the brain. The individuals who were being examined also took a specific survey providing the scientists with deeper information on the level of control they have upon their actions. After examining and surveying these individuals, the biopsychologists at Ruhr University Bochum found that individuals who have a weaker control over their actions had a larger amygdala, which warns individuals about the negative effects a particular action can have and they also found out that people who have a weak ability to control their actions also have a weaker connection between their amygdala and their dorsal anterior cingulate cortex which uses information given by the amygdala to allow the individual to recognize what to do in a certain situation. According to (Sharma, Uma) having a weaker connection between your dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and your amygdala results in having a more difficult time controlling your actions, therefore causes a higher level of procrastination in specific situations.

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Evidence #2: Connection between the DACC and procrastination

Elaboration: The DACC which is referred to as the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex studied and examined by the institution and department of psychology at Princeton University. The DACC is positioned in the brain where it is closely connected to the limbic system and the cognitive prefrontal cortex. DACC is found to be involved in pain processing, performance monitoring, decision making, emotions, learning, and motivation, which also plays a big role in procrastination. The DACC demands cognitive control; this can be defined as the set of mechanisms needed to reach a goal, more so when an individual is distracted or is procrastinating. An individual with a weaker DACC and weaker cognitive control results in a higher level of procrastination. The DACC is part of the frontoparietal “attention networks”; studies proven by MRI have displayed that the patterns of the anterior cingulate cortex depend on the task the individual is doing when the individual has a weak DACC, the cognitive control is minimized leading to the individual to instead put off tasks and rather focus on a more pleasuring task (Maria G. Cersosimo, Eduardo E. Benarroch).

Evidence #3: Distraction effectivity on procrastinators vs non-procrastinator

Elaboration: A case study that was done in 2007 had proven that students who were procrastinating at the beginning of the school semester experienced less stress and claimed to be healthier and experience fewer illnesses in comparison to nonprocrastinators. Individuals who were considered procrastinators were reported to be overly stressed and were experiencing high levels of illnesses near the end of the term due to the overwhelming load of school work and exams due to the weaker connection between their amygdala and their DACC which is the main cause of their hardship towards staying focus and completing tasks and assignments on time. According to Tuckman, Smith, and Abry, there are many emotional related excuses that allow individuals to procrastinate such as “not feeling the mood to do it” or “ lacking the initiative to get started” these emotionally related excuses connect to the level of connection individuals have between their amygdala and their DACC, this leads back to evidence #1 where I discussed that individuals who do have a weaker connection between their DACC and their amygdala are more likely to be a high level of procrastinators. People who do have a weaker connection between their amygdala and their DACC are studied that they have less control over their emotions that affect their goal reaching work ethic, leading to procrastination. A study called “Emotional Working Memory Task” was done on individuals and their ability to keep a goal-reaching mindset while being neutrally or emotionally distracted. For this case study, the individuals being tested had to keep particular information in their mind for a certain period of time, throughout this time period the examiners will be looking at individuals who show signs of emotional or neutral distraction. Individuals who were being examined were asked to give fast and precise responses to the probes while being asked to ignore any distractors, as a result, participants that had longer reaction time and poor precision due to emotional distractions were reported to be more highly distracted than participants that had an accurate and rapid response, due to being able to control and overcome those distractions. Researchers have noticed that in previous results of this study, individuals that had poor accuracy and slower responses had been reported to have a high rate of activity occurring in a specific section of their brain which is the central area of the brain and this section of the brain includes the amygdala and lower activity rate in the DACC section of the brain (Krause-Utz, Annegret).

As a result, I have concluded that individuals who struggle with high levels of procrastination have a weaker connection between their DACC and their amygdala. As of my evidence discussed above, many of the areas of the brain affect one another and connect to one another such as the amygdala and the DACC, having weak internal connections between these two results in high levels of procrastination.

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“How The Internal Activities Of The Brain Cause Individuals To Procrastinate.” Edubirdie, 09 Aug. 2021,
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