Procrastination is in the genes: We don't blame you if you read this later


Scientists have just discovered that serial procrastinators can actually blame their parents for their bad behavior. New research suggest that procrastination may be linked to genetics.

The new study conducted by researchers from the University of Colorado at Boulder indicates that the origins of serial procrastination may lie in the genes. The researchers published their findings in the journal Psychological Science. The researchers who worked on the study say that certain genes tend to cause a predisposition to impulsive behavior, which may be closely linked to procrastination.

"Previous research has revealed a moderate and positive correlation between procrastination and impulsivity," says the study. "However, little is known about why these two constructs are related."

While genetic predisposition may be partly responsible for procrastination, the researchers say that this fact only comprises half of the story. The study also indicates that heredity and genetics can only account for half of serial procrastination. While inheritance could be partly responsible, serial procrastinators are still affected by other external factors.

The other half of the story is related to "environmental influences, which may bring about a habitual postponement of key tasks, duties and responsibilities. Such influences may include stress, social interactions or even extremely busy lifestyles. 

To conduct the study, the researchers analyzed behavior-genetics to determine the veracity of three specific predictions made under the assumption that procrastination is a by-product of impulsivity, which is also known to be hereditary. The first prediction says assumes that procrastination is heritable, the second states that both procrastination and impulsivity both share a significant amount of genetic variation and lastly, that the ability to manage goals is a key part of the genetic variance shared by procrastination and impulsivity. The study concluded that all three predictions were indeed true.

The researchers were able to determine that procrastination is 46 percent inheritable while impulsivity is 49 percent inheritable. In terms of genetic variation, the two traits proved to be inseparable on the genetic level. However, procrastination and impulsivity could be distinctly separated on the phenotypic level, which means that the each of the traits had observable characteristics distinct from each other. Lastly, the team was able to confirm that the ability to manage goals also accounted for the genetic variation shared by both traits.

"These results suggest that procrastination and impulsivity are linked primarily through genetic influences on the ability to use high-priority goals to effectively regulate actions," the study says.

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