Genetic and neural relationships underpinning impulsivity

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Impulsivity refers to acting without forethought. It can be detrimental to daily social functioning and interaction, and is significantly implicated in several clinical conditions, e.g. violence and addiction. Evidence for the neural underpinnings of impulsivity from both healthy and clinical populations, integrated with the findings from genetic studies on the same topic, lend important insight into a neurobehavioral model of impulsivity. In this review, disinhibition and impulsive decision-making in the impulsivity construct are covered. Recent behavioral and imaging-genetic studies on the topic will also be reviewed and discussed. Findings from neuroimaging studies, clinical studies, and genetic studies converge to provide a better understanding of individual differences on the continuum. Future research efforts should continue to focus on the association approach to identify relevant neural-behavioral correlations in order for elucidating the impact from genes through neural to behavioral phenotypes. These potential findings, when being incorporated with physiological and immunological measures, would not only hasten understanding of impulsivity, but guide interventions development for ameliorating maladaptive social/psychological functioning disorders underpinned by it. Copyright © 2013 International Journal of Psychological Research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-93
JournalInternational Journal of Psychological Research
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013


Wong, N. M. L., & Lee, T. M. C. (2013). Genetic and neural relationships underpinning impulsivity. International Journal of Psychological Research, 6, 80-93.


  • Impulsivity
  • Disinhibition
  • Decision making
  • Social functioning
  • Risk
  • Imaging-genetic studies
  • Candidate genes


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