Procrastination. Psychoanalysis and Social Context

Research Associate: Carolin Schnackenberg (M.A.), Tom Uhlig (11/15 – 14/16)
Financed by: The Foundation to Promote University Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, Köhler Foundation

2015–2018 / Project Head: Prof. Dr. Christine Kirchhoff

Project Description

That we should not put off until tomorrow what we can do today is a commonly known proverb.  And this admonition would not be so widespread were it not for the tendency to do exactly that. This human peculiarity has advanced to becoming a specialist psychological term; "procrastination" in this context describes the unplanned postponing and deferring of everyday tasks, which can be accompanied by subjective psychological stress when it is excessive.

As a subject of psychological research, procrastination is quite a recent phenomenon, which was more likely to be dealt with in the past in self-help literature. Academic psychology first became interested in the subject in the 1980s, with the focus here especially on the interconnection between certain traits in the personality and the tasks, as well as on the motivational references to the activity planning.

The aim of the IPU research project is to open up a perspective which focuses on the one hand on psychoanalytical-psychodynamic aspects (of the subjective experience) of procrastination and on the other hand on its social context (the social meaning). Psychoanalysis promises an epistemologically-based approach to the unconscious aspects of procrastination and its latent meaning within the individual and society.

The preparation of third-party funding applications is currently ongoing in order to be able to conduct an empirical study (online questionnaire and subject-centred interviews).

The latest news and other aspects of the research project are provided in this blog: