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冯廷勇教授团队在《Journal of Experimental Psychology: General》发表文章揭示拖延决策的认知机制

发布时间:2019-05-27 来源:本站原创 作者:本站编辑   浏览次数:

冯廷勇教授团队在《Journal of Experimental Psychology: General》发表文章揭示拖延决策的认知机制

    “明日复明日,明日何其多,我生待明日,万事成蹉跎,一首明日歌道出了拖延的弊端,它亦警示后人谨防拖延。拖延(Procrastination)是指尽管预见到会带来不利后果, 人们仍自愿推迟开始或完成某一计划好的任务(Steel, 2007)。跨文化研究表明,不同文化背景下有15%20%的成年人存在慢性拖延(Ferrari2005Steel, 2013 ),超过70%的学生承认存在学业拖延行为(陈陈, 燕婷 & 林崇德, 2013Janssen2015),甚至部分个体会形成病理性拖延(Solomon1984)。现在做还是以后做?是拖延决策的核心问题。然而,目前尚没有理论能清楚地解释和检验拖延决策的认知机制。

近日,国际心理学顶级期刊(实验心理学旗舰杂志)《Journal of Experimental Psychology: General接收了冯廷勇教授团队题为“Modeling procrastination: asymmetric decisions to act between the present and the future”的学术论文。该论文提出了拖延的时间决策模型(temporal decision model)以解释人们为何现在不做,以后会做,并在此基础上对拖延的时间决策模型的解释进行了验证。

拖延的时间决策模型认为,当执行任务(例如:准备考试)的厌恶感(任务厌恶)的作用强于人们对任务远期结果(例如:取得好成绩)的渴望程度(结果效用)时人们便会拒绝执行任务。更重要的是,当任务被延迟以后,个体主观的任务厌恶感会因延迟折扣的效应而下降。与之相反,当预期在未来执行任务时,个体预期的结果效用会因接近于远期结果的兑现时间而上升。因为任务厌恶在较近未来的作用强于结果效用,所以个体决定现在不做。而当任务被推迟到较远未来时,结果效用的作用将会超过任务厌恶,因此个体认为自己以后会做(如图1task-delay aversiveness vs. task-delay outcome utility)。

 

 

1. 实时效用(real-time utilities)代表当任务未被推迟时,人们在每个时间点上感受到的效用。任务延迟效用(task-delay utilities)代表人们将任务推迟后所能感受到的效用。只有当结果效用(outcome utility)大于任务厌恶(task aversiveness)时个体才愿意执行任务。

 

冯廷勇教授团队通过收集人们真实任务的任务厌恶、结果效用以及决策(包括追踪研究)证实了时间决策模型的解释。结果显示,无论是决定当前是否执行任务还是决定未来是否执行任务,只要主观的任务厌恶作用强于结果效用,个体便会拒绝执行任务(如图2)。

 

 

2. 当任务厌恶的作用强于结果效用时,个体做出拒绝执行任务的决策;当任务厌恶的作用弱于结果效用时,个体做出执行任务的决策;当任务厌恶和结果效用的作用强度不相上下时,个体也无法确定是否执行任务。

 

另外,在预期未来执行任务时,随着任务被延迟得越多,个体所感知到的任务厌恶也越低。并且任务厌恶随延迟时间降低的形式也符合时间决策模型所预测的双曲线形式(如图3)。

 

 

3. 主观的任务厌恶随任务延迟时间的增加以双曲线的形式下降。

 

相反,当预期在未来执行任务时,个体认为自己在较远的未来能够感知到更强的结果效用。并且,与时间决策模型预测的相似,个体预期的结果效用随着任务延迟的增加以双曲线的形式上升(如图4)。预期的结果效用的上升在与截至日期的时间距离小于50%后便趋于平缓,这可能是由于个体需要预留足够的时间完成来完成任务。

 

 

4. 在距离截至日期小于50%以前,预期的结果效用随任务延迟的增加以双曲线的形式上升。

 

该论文是冯廷勇课题组关于拖延的原创性理论及实验研究,也是纯本土的高水平研究,它对于揭示拖延的认知机制具有重要的科学价值,对于拖延行为的干预和预防也具有重要的实践意义。论文的第一作者为西南大学在读博士生张顺民,冯廷勇教授为通讯作者,该研究得到国家自然科学基金面上项目(31571128)的资助。近5年来课题组在拖延行为的认知机制及神经基础方面进行了系统研究,在Journal of Experimental Psychology: GeneralHuman Brain MappingNeruoscience入选Science杂志editors’ choice2017)、WIREs Cognitive Scienceeditor约稿的观点性综述2019)、Brain Imaging and Behavior Brain and Cognition Behavioural Brain Research等国际著名杂志发表系列论文,在国际拖延领域产生了重要的影响。

 

文章索引

Zhang, S. Feng, T (2019). Modeling procrastination: asymmetric decisions to act between the present and the future. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, in press.

 

原文摘要

Although procrastination has troubled people consistently, there is a lack of systematic theories to explain this behavior. The present study aims to propose and validate a temporal decision model to explain procrastination. The temporal decision model predicts that people will procrastinate on a task so long as the aversiveness of a task outweighs the utility of future incentive outcomes that this task can yield. Specifically, people perceive less aversiveness from a task when this task is scheduled in the future than in the present, but expect that they can perceive higher utility from the incentive outcome in the future than in the present. Consequently, people are reluctant to do this task in the present but expect that they are willing to do it in the future (i.e., procrastination). We tested these predictions by measuring perceived task aversiveness, outcome utility and decision for real-life tasks when the same tasks were scheduled with different delays. The results demonstrate that people expect that they would procrastinate a task as long as perceived task aversiveness is stronger than outcome utility, and would stop procrastinating when perceived task aversiveness becomes comparable with outcome utility. Furthermore, people perceive less task aversiveness when the task is scheduled further away, and expect that outcome utility would be higher when time gets closer to the delivery of outcome in the future. The present study explains procrastination by revealing how perceived aversiveness from a delayed task and expected outcome utility generate asymmetric decisions between the present and the future.