Do you park in the first spot you see, even if it means a longer, grocery-laden walk back from the store later? When unloading the dishwasher, do you quickly shove all the Tupperware into a random cabinet, thereby getting the dishes-doing process over with faster—but also setting yourself up for a mini-avalanche of containers and lids?
In a recent study published in Psychological Science, Pennsylvania State psychologists coined a new term for this phenomenon: Precrastination, or “the tendency to complete, or at least begin, tasks as soon as possible, even at the expense of extra physical effort.”
To test the human capacity to precrastinate, researchers David Rosenbaum, Lanyun Gong, and Cory Adam Potts led 27 college students to an alley where there were two yellow plastic buckets filled with pennies—one on either side. On one side, the bucket was closer to the participant, and on the other, it was closer to the other end of the alley. The participants were asked to pick up either the right or left bucket, whichever seemed easiest, and carry it to the end of the alley.
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