(Mirror Daily, United States) – Researchers suggest that impulsiveness is in your genes and there might be something you’re born with that prompts rash decisions. Opting for a quicker but smaller payout instead of choosing a larger but delayed payout has been deemed as ‘impulsive behavior’. Other studies have also shown that people who are impulsive also have a heightened risk of depression and addiction.
The team of researchers conducted a study on over 600 fraternal twins, at the ages of 12 and 14 years old. Their experiment was aimed at delay discounting, a type of behavior linked to impulsiveness. Each participant was given the option of choosing a small sum of money in the moment, or a larger sum to arrive in their mail two weeks later.
After accounting for their age, the scientists noted that the tendency of going for the instant smaller gratification faded with age. At the age of 12 years old, 35% of the participants picked for the first option of instant payout, exerting the behavior called delay discounting. At the age of 14 years old, their numbers dropped to 27.5%.
The patterns were found to continue throughout the participants’ lives, in spite of the initial decline.
According to the team of researchers, the difference between the choices are half blamed on their genes. Those are the same ones blamed for problems with addiction, mood, and depression later on in life. People with impulsive tendencies are at higher risk, as the genes play a major role in decision-making.
Lead author of the study, Dr. Andrey Anokhin, stated that initial reports linked impulsiveness to the serotonin and kappa opioid receptors found in the brain. The choice of opting for instant gratification gradually lessens in likelihood over time, and is attributed to genes. The association could have major implications for several therapies, especially those meant to treat addiction.
According to Dr. Anokhin, they found many impulsive decisions are “explained by genetic factors that are also related to mood”. The same ones would encourage problems later on in life, such as depression, which could endanger their health and well being. However, it’s too early to take these findings and place them into therapeutic applications.
First off, they haven’t precisely tracked down the genes that cause impulsiveness in the first place. More research is required before drawing clear conclusions, so the situation will be carefully monitored. There are numerous other studies there to back it up. This includes a string of DNA analysis and questionnaires from around 25,000 participants that looks into delay discounting.
Image source: specialedpost.com
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