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Is susceptibility to procrastination genetic?

| | July 24, 2014

Want to hear my favorite procrastination joke?

I’ll tell you later. Piers Steel, a psychologist at the University of Calgary, has saved up countless such lines while researching the nature of procrastination. Formerly a terrible procrastinator himself, he figures a dose of humor can’t hurt. It’s certainly better than continually building up anxiety about work you should do now but put off until later and later, as your chances of completing it grow ever slimmer, and the consequences loom ever larger.

When Steel completed his analysis, one finding in particular jumped out: excessive procrastinators were worse at self-regulating. In fact, self-regulation—the ability to exercise self-control and delay immediate rewards for future benefits—explained seventy per cent of the observed procrastination behaviors. From that connection came Steel’s main insight: What if procrastination was simply the flip side of impulsivity? Just as impulsivity is a failure of our self-control mechanisms—we should wait, but instead we act now—so, too, is procrastination: we should act now, but instead we wait.

This April, the behavioral geneticist Naomi Friedman, with her graduate student Daniel Gustavson and two colleagues at the University of Colorado at Boulder, decided to test the notion directly, in a study of three hundred and forty-seven pairs of same-sex identical (monozygotic) and fraternal (dizygotic) twins from the Colorado Longitudinal Twin Study. 

Read the full, original story: Getting Over Procrastination 

 

 

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