Researchers Investigate Aftereffects of Deferred Intentions in Brain

Researchers Investigate Aftereffects of Deferred Intentions in Brain


Placing a tick mark on your to-do list is highly liberating. The feeling is particularly more profound when the task has been delaying for a long time. However, what occurs inside our brain once we complete the delaying task? Does it simply deactivate? If yes, then how?

A group of researchers from the Collaborative Research Centre 940 “Volition and Cognitive Control” at the Dresden University are trying to investigate the mystery. The group is seeking help from two of the leading global experts, Michael Scullin and Julie Bugg to review this matter.

Dr. Marcus Moschl is heading the group of researchers from TU Dresden. He works as the Chair of General Psychology at the university. The team has been analyzing 20 years of research on the deactivation of intention. They are also studying the after-effects inside the brain once the task or intention is complete. Moreover, they are also analyzing the after-effects across a variety of research fields.

Effects of Completing Our Intentions

There are several examples in our day to day life on delaying intentions: children trying to delay cleaning up their rooms, people thinking to call their peers tomorrow instead of today, and many more. These intentions have an influence on our actions and thoughts till the time they are complete. After completion, these tasks are deactivated and moved out of our mental checklist.

However, several studies show that these intentions do not deactivate immediately once completion and continue to have influenced us. It is particularly true while implementing new intentions.

This happens if an action has been delaying until a particular stimulus or event occurs. However, studies suggest that drastic after-effects of task completion are rather rare. Most of the time these intentions deactivate as soon as the task is complete. However, this deactivation does not work like flicking an electric switch. Researchers are now studying which events can be advantageous for us if completed tasks remain active in our brain.

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