The neural substrates of procrastination: A voxel-based morphometry study

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Abstract

Procrastination is a pervasive phenomenon across different cultures and brings about lots of serious consequences, including performance, subjective well-being, and even public policy. However, little is known about the neural substrates of procrastination. In order to shed light upon this question, we investigated the neuroanatomical substrates of procrastination across two independent samples using voxel-based morphometry (VBM) method. The whole-brain analysis showed procrastination was positively correlated with the gray matter (GM) volume of clusters in the parahippocampal gyrus (PHG) and the orbital frontal cortex (OFC), while negatively correlated with the GM volume of clusters in the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) and the middle frontal gyrus (MFG) in sample one (151 participants). We further conducted a verification procedure on another sample (108 participants) using region-of-interest analysis to examine the reliability of these results. Results showed procrastination can be predicted by the GM volume of the OFC and the MFG. The present findings suggest that the MFG and OFC, which are the key regions of self-control and emotion regulation, may play an important role in procrastination.

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