Posted by & filed under General Psychology, Industrial Organizational Psychlology, Industrial Organizational Psychology, Motivation-Emotion, Personality, Social Psychology, Social Psychology, The Self.

Description: Given a choice would you rather have $40 right now or $80 next month? Seriously, which would you likely pick? Picking $40 now may seem like a small thing but it may reflect a fairly broad reaching underlying cognitive style of impulsivity. What sorts of day to day behaviors do you think would be correlated with this particular indicator of impulsivity? Give it some thought and then read the linked article to see what the researchers found.

>Source: An impulsive style comes with implications, researchers say, David Orenstein, Psychology and Psychiatry, The Medical Press.

Date: February 1, 2017

Photo Credit:  Brown University

Links:  Article Link —

First, bear in mind that the research discussed is looking at correlations and ones that are moderate at best and this means that the patterns of connection between impulsivity and the various studied other styles and behaviors will vary quite a bit across people. That said, the researchers describe their operationalization (the way they measured it) of impulsivity as seeming to reflect a “surprisingly broad cognitive phenotype”. Take the $40 and you are also more likely to take a hurried approach to problem solving, see others as simple and predictable rather than complex, prefer easier-to-consume news and social media and be more likely to believe in God even though you are no more likely to observe religious practice. It is worth thinking a bit about what these results suggest about the impact of investments in cognitive effort on a day-to-day basis.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How did the researchers define/operationalize impulsivity?
  2. What did impulsivity correlate with?
  3. Based on the research described in the article would there be value in attempting to develop ways of training people to increase cognitive effort? What might that involve?

References (Read Further):

Shenhav, A., Rand, D. G., & Greene, J. D. (2017). The relationship between intertemporal choice and following the path of least resistance across choices, preferences, and beliefs. Judgment and Decision Making, 12(1), 1-18.

Moeller, F. G., Barratt, E. S., Dougherty, D. M., Schmitz, J. M., & Swann, A. C. (2001). Psychiatric aspects of impulsivity. American journal of psychiatry, 158(11), 1783-1793.

Franco, C., Amutio, A., López-González, L., Oriol, X., & Martínez-Taboada, C. (2016). Effect of a mindfulness training program on the impulsivity and aggression levels of adolescents with behavioral problems in the classroom. Frontiers in psychology, 7.