Researchers analyze the aftereffects of deferred intentions in the brain

Researchers analyze the aftereffects of deferred intentions in the brain

Placing a checkmark on the to-do list is an extremely liberating feeling for many eager list lovers, especially when the task has been postponed for a long time. But what happens in our brain when we have completed a postponed task? Will it be deactivated? If so, how? A team of scientists from the Collaborative Research Centre 940 "Volition and Cognitive Control" at TU Dresden, together with two leading international experts, Julie Bugg and Michael Scullin, investigated these questions in a systematic review article. Headed by Dr. Marcus Möschl from the Chair of General Psychology at TU Dresden, the team analyzed 20 years of research on intention deactivation and so-called aftereffects of completed intentions across different research fields. There are many everyday examples of postponed intentions: children who put off tidying up their room until later, people planning to call their best friend tomorrow rather than now, and so on. Intentions have been proven to influence our thoughts and actions until they are completed. Afterwards, they could be deactivated and removed from our mental to-do list. To our surprise, however, the studies we reviewed have repeatedly shown that completed intentions are sometimes not deactivated immediately, but continue to affect people. For instance, when implementing new intentions." Marcus Möschl, Chair of General Psychology at TU Dresden Related Stories



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