Procrastination

|
2
Procrastination

No doubt that pigeon is flying away from some urgent task that needs its attention.

iStockphoto/Thinkstock

You'd think that animals would have an instant-gratification mandate that would make them pretty willing to do whatever they needed to accomplish a goal right then. But like any human, it seems that some of them would rather put off what could be done now for what could also be done tomorrow. And which advanced, intellectual species showed the same aptitude that humans have when they decide to wait until Sunday night to finish that term paper on "Anna Karenina"?

It's our special friend the pigeon. An animal so stupid it gets hit by slow-moving cars while hanging out in the middle of the street, the pigeon shares our human habit to "think about it tomorrow." Researchers conducted a study that showed that pigeons were inclined to forgo a small aversive task now, even if it meant having to do a larger aversive task later. Which might explain their nonchalant attitude about flying away from a moving car [source: Mazur]?

On the other side of procrastination is a kind of discipline: self-control. Let's see what animals also strive for restraint.

|