According to a new study conducted by researchers at the University School of Medicine, genes can say if you’re impulsive or not. Until recently, it was believed that impulsiveness is mainly related to a person’s personality, but scientists have now proven the opposite.
Scientists started a new scientific quest with the intention to determine what makes certain people look for immediate rewards, while others can wait until they have finally achieved what they have been looking for. This type of behavior is called delay discounting and it was believed it is determined by the environment in which a person is raised.
In an attempt to find out more about this tendency, researchers have performed various tests on a large group of twins. They have gathered a pair of 310 twins, be they identical or not. Participants were handed a series of questions about their perception on money when they were 12 or 14 years old.
Based on these new tests, investigators have discovered that participants had a different perception on money and immediate rewards when they were younger. To be more specific, 35% of participants confessed they used to choose instant cash rewards when they were 12. When they turned 14, only 27.5% participants continued to ask for the same rewards.
The fact that there was just a small decrease in the percentage of impulsive participants proves that age has little to do with delayed gratification. Teenagers remain just as impulsive even though they are more mature, so it is clear there must be something else that pushes them to ask for immediate rewards.
The only possible explanation was that genes are the ones that determine our level of impulsivity. Additional tests have revealed that our decision making process is entirely governed by the kappa opioid receptor and serotonin genes.
Just like in the case of the moods they cause, these receptors in our body also urge us to make impulsive decisions or wait for later rewards. The kappa opioid receptor and serotonin is also responsible for our tendency towards addictions and depressions, scientists have explained.
To sum up, there is little you can do to cure your impulsivity, at least according to psychiatrists. This behavior is usually determined by genes, which are, in turn, inherited from our parents.
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