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Connecting the genetic ties between impulsiveness and procrastination

Do genetics play a role in procrastination?
Do genetics play a role in procrastination?

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Are you putting off a project at work, mailing a bill, or getting started on spring cleaning? You may be able to blame your parents.

Researchers at the University of Colorado have found that procrastination is almost half-heritable, and that it shares genetic factors with traits for impulsiveness. While the two attributes may seem unconnected, studies have shown they are closely related, and that they share a key factor -- deviation from long-term goals.

The University of Colorado study used identical and fraternal twins in their early twenties to examine tendencies towards procrastination and impulsivity. Results of the study indicated that about half of reported instances of procrastination and impulsivity were caused by genetics, with the other half caused by environmental influences.

The study authors hypothesize that procrastination may be a byproduct of impulsive behavior. How and why do humans inherit impulsive behavior? Could it once have been genetically beneficial to procrastinate or to act impulsively?


Daniel Gustavson, Psychological Scientist, University of Colorado Boulder; Study author of the "Psychologist Science" journal study.