- What is the relationship between executive attention and procrastination in a normal population of students?
- What is the relationship between mind wandering and procrastination?
Sections to be included
- Title (not included in word count)
- Abstract (not included in word count)
150 students enrolled in a 2 nd year Psychology unit participated as a part of their tutorial. However, only the results from 114 participants (87 females and 27 males) were included in the final analysis. The inclusion criteria were that participants had to have completed all sections of the experiment, are not visually impaired, and have not been previously diagnosed with ADHD, learning impairment and language and reading impairment.
Mind wandering task
The reading material for this task was based on Schooler et al. (2004) and taken from Tolstoy’s (1869) War and Peace. Participants read the first two chapters of the text on a computer screen in a self-paced format, and advanced to the next screen by key-press. At intervals of one, two or three blocks of text, participants were presented with mind wandering though probes, each then followed by a reading comprehension question. There were 10 thought probes and 10 reading questions in total.
The thought probes required participants to classify the contents of their immediately preceding thoughts. Participants were instructed to respond based on their thought content just before the probe appeared, and asked: “What were you just thinking about? “ Participants selected one of six possible answers: 1. The text; 2. How well I’m understanding the story; 3. A memory from the past; 4. Something in the future; 5. Current state of being; and 6. Other.
For analysis, responses 1 and 2 were coded as Task Related Thoughts and response 3-6 were coded as Task Unrelated Thoughts (TUTs).
Lay’s general procrastination scale
The Lay (1986) general procrastination scale is a 20-item measure of dispositional levels of procrastination, and the student version was used in the current study. Participants were asked to respond to items such as "I often find myself performing tasks that I had intended to do days before" on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from extremely uncharacteristic to extremely characteristic. Higher scores reflect greater procrastination. The validity and reliability of this scale has been demonstrated in a variety of contexts (Lay, 1987, 1988; Kusyszyn, 1990).
The Stroop task has been widely used to research to measure attention (e.g., MacLeod, 1992) and was used to assess executive attention in this study. The version used in this study contained 56 trials in total, half of which had congruent colour and word names and half had incongruent colour and word names. Partipants were required to press one of four keys in response to the colour rather than the word name. For the purposes of this study, only the results from the incongruent condition were used.
- Background information and literature review.
- Explain aims of current study.
- Formulate operationalized hypothesis with appropriate rationale.
- Description of the results in paragraph form, with then appropriate statistics.
- Summary of results and whether the hypotheses were supported.
- Rationalise why/why not, according from past research and logical reasoning.
- Limitations, future research directions, and conclusion.