Procrastination and impulsivity genetically linked

If it seems as if procrastinators often make impulsive decisions it may be because procrastination and impulsivity originate from similar evolutionary origins. New research, published in Psychological Science_,_ says these traits correlate to our ability to juggle and pursue multiple goals.

Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder studied this connection by asking 181 pairs of identical twins and 166 pairs of fraternal twins to take different surveys. These surveys asked questions about their impulsiveness, procrastination, and their ability to create and stick to goals.

The results showed that procrastination and impulsivity are inheritable traits, with procrastination most likely a byproduct of impulsivity. The researchers believe procrastination has evolved in the modern world as people have been able to focus more on long-term goals. But impulsivity causes us to be distracted from those goals and we procrastinate.

Next, the team is looking at how procrastination and impulsivity relate to high-level cognitive abilities. The researchers hope that understanding these traits can help people learn to avoid procrastination.

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