Technical Program

Paper Detail

Paper: PS-1B.78
Session: Poster Session 1B
Location: H Fläche 1.OG
Session Time: Saturday, September 14, 16:30 - 19:30
Presentation Time:Saturday, September 14, 16:30 - 19:30
Presentation: Poster
Publication: 2019 Conference on Cognitive Computational Neuroscience, 13-16 September 2019, Berlin, Germany
Paper Title: Procrastination in Rational Agents
Manuscript:  Click here to view manuscript
License: Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Authors: Peiyuan Zhang, Wei Ji Ma, New York University, United States
Abstract: Procrastination is prevalent in people’s daily lives. Empirical studies of procrastination have identified various contributing factors, including temporal discounting, perfectionism, and time pressure. Models of procrastination, however, have only considered temporal discounting and have ignored other factors. Also, they assume that people make a binary choice between working and delaying, which ignores the fact that people often also decide the amount of effort they put into their work. We bridge this gap by using reinforcement learning theory to re-examine procrastination. Our model predicts two scenarios in which a rational agent chooses to procrastinate: one is that people delay working until the last minute if their cost is sensitive to increases in effort when it is low, and another is that people do not work at all if they pursue perfection under time pressure. Our model raises questions about the common notion that procrastination is necessarily irrational, and suggests several experimental tests.