Why it isn’t always your fault when you can’t remember
In a new research article, associate professor Thor Grünbaum and professor Søren Kyllingsbæk from the Department of Psychology writes about the science behind procrastination, and explains how storage of intentions in our long-term memory is crucial for succeeding in completing our goals for the day.
We have all been there. Somehow, we procrastinate to the point where we fail to achieve our daily goals. Research has shown that there are several factors that determine whether we remember to do our daily tasks or not.
When we make a list to keep track of daily goals, this information is stored in our short-term memory.
In a new research article, associate professor Thor Grünbaum and professor Søren Kyllingsbæk from the Department of Psychology writes about the science behind procrastination. We don’t always remember to do everything we intent to do. Several elements play an essential role as to whether we can prioritize the tasks on our daily to-do lists or not.
Some psychologists say that we do not hold the capacity to keep all these intentions active in our short-term memory throughout the day. That is why we need long-term memory to store our intensions.
Effort versus reward
Throughout our day, we might have planned on doing several tasks. Think of these objectives as individual horses in a race. Some horses will deliver a greater reward than others, and so, certain circumstances determine whether we remember these tasks. Some chores will require a lot of effort, which results in a big reward, whereas other chores might call for less effort which then leads to a minor reward. Simultaneously, other tasks might be less strenuous, which has a high probability of succeeding but results in a small reward.
Below is a mathematical model of how our mind selects an intention to remember:
The speed of an “intention horse” is influenced by how well the intention is matched by the environment and how important the intention is to the person (Grünbaum et al., 2022).
Learn more about the science behind procrastination from the original article “Why it isn’t always your fault when you can’t remember”, publicised on the news site The Conversation, HERE.