This video answers the question: What is impulsivity? Impulsivity is an interesting construct – it’s associated with a number of diagnostic classifications (mental disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual). Some of these mental disorders have impulsivity directly as a symptom and for others impulsivity is really just more of an associated characteristic. We see that with clinical and non-clinical populations – so individuals who have mental disorders and are being treated and individuals who don’t – impulsivity has a negative impact on social adjustment, work, school success as well as physical and mental health. We know that impulsivity increases the risk of engaging a lot of behaviors that are considered problematic in our society: gambling, risky sex, substance use, suicidal behavior, binge eating, aggression, and violence.
There is single definition for impulsivity, but rather we see a number of terms associated with impulsivity like lack of forethought, risk-taking, inattention, lack of control, failing to plan, excitement seeking, novelty seeking, and quick decision-making.
One popular way of understanding impulsivity is the four-factor model called the UPPS model. This acronym stands for urgency, lack of premeditation, lack of perseverance, and sensation-seeking.
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Lootens, C. M., Robertson, C. D., Mitchell, J. T., Kimbrel, N. A., Hundt, N. E., & Nelson-Gray, R. O. (2017). Factors of impulsivity and Cluster B personality dimensions. Journal of Individual Differences, 38(4), 203–210.