Our procrastination around certain decisions could be rooted in how those decisions make us feel emotionally. A new study conducted a pair of experiments to find that while some people tend to procrastinate negative tasks such as a dentist’s appointment for a root canal, others will opt to get it done as quickly as possible.
The team of researchers conducted two experiments as a part of this study. The first one involved placing two advertisements on a social media network about retirement planning. While the first one read ‘Looking forward to retirement benefits?’, the other one that enjoyed a 43 percent higher click-rate involved the words, ‘Worried about retirement expenses?’.
The second experiment sought to understand positive and negative experiences through flavors of jelly beans. Researchers used jelly beans with flavors ranging from pleasant ones such as watermelon to unimaginable ones such as rotten eggs.
“When you’re booking a vacation, you’re vicariously enjoying the vacation, which is great, but you’re also contrasting it with your current situation, which is bad. So you have that mix,” said one of the author and UBC Sauder assistant professor, David Hardisty. “And for losses, it’s more of a unidimensional bad feeling. When you have a dentist’s appointment coming up, you don’t like thinking about the pain in the dental chair.”
The author also points out the practical applications of this study, now published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, to decisions such as car loans and retirement plans.