HEALTHY LIVING
04/14/2014 08:41 am ET Updated Apr 14, 2014

Go Ahead, Blame Procrastination On Your Genes

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Some people may be genetically predisposed to procrastinate, according to a new study.

In addition, researchers found a genetic association between procrastination and impulsivity, suggesting procrastination is a byproduct of impulsivity.

"Everyone procrastinates at least sometimes, but we wanted to explore why some people procrastinate more than others and why procrastinators seem more likely to make rash actions and act without thinking," study researcher Daniel Gustavson, a psychological scientist at the University of Colorado-Boulder, said in a statement. "Answering why that's the case would give us some interesting insights into what procrastination is, why it occurs, and how to minimize it."

Researchers noted that impulsivity has a logical evolutionary basis, in that our ancestors never knew what the next day would bring, so it was in their best interests to be impulsive and seek immediate rewards. Meanwhile, they hypothesized that procrastination may be linked with impulsivity because when we're impulsive, we may become distracted from -- and thereby put off -- long-term goals.

For the study, researchers analyzed the impulsivity and procrastination tendencies of 181 identical twin pairs (identical twins share 100 percent of their genes) and 166 fraternal twin pairs (fraternal twins share 50 percent).

Researchers found that both impulsivity and procrastination were "moderately heritable." In addition, "although the two traits were separable at the phenotypic level, they were not separable at the genetic level," the researchers wrote in the Psychological Science study.

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