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Pre-crastination in the pigeon


Procrastination is the tendency to delay initiating or completing tasks. Rosenbaum et al. (Psychological Science, May 8, 2014) recently documented the opposite of procrastination: pre-crastination, the tendency to begin or to finish tasks as soon as possible. We devised a simple two-alternative forced-choice task, in which pigeons could choose to switch response location either sooner or later in a sequence of actions eventuating in food reward. Even though there was no economic advantage for doing so, pigeons chose to switch response location sooner rather than later in the sequence, showing pre-crastination to be quite general. Pre-crastination thus joins other anticipatory learning phenomena in challenging rational or optimal accounts of behavioral adaptation.

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We thank Leyre Castro and Mike O’Hara for their helpful comments and suggestions.

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Correspondence to Edward A. Wasserman.

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Wasserman, E.A., Brzykcy, S.J. Pre-crastination in the pigeon. Psychon Bull Rev 22, 1130–1134 (2015).

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  • Animal and human associative learning
  • Choice behavior
  • Animal behavior