Procrastination Can Be Hereditary

June 11, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. inherited [in-HER-it-id] (adj.) – referring to traits or items received from parents
Example: She has inherited her singing talent from her mother.

2. procrastination [proh-kras-tuh-NEY-shuh n, pruh] (n.) – the act or habit of delaying a task
ExampleHis procrastination in studying led to lower grades.

3. impulsivity [im-puhl-SIV-i-ti] (n.) – the act of doing something without much thinking
Example: She bought a new pair of shoes out of impulsivity.

4. beneficial [ben-uh-FISH-uh l] (adj.) – helpful or useful
Example: The soothing music in the bar is beneficial to those who want to relax.

5. well-being [WEL-BEE-ing] (n.) – a condition usually associated with health and happiness
Example: Parents always care about their children’s well-being even if they are away.


Read the text below.
A study published in the journal Psychological Science showed that postponing tasks for another day can be an inherited trait from parents.

Researchers from the University of Colorado revealed in a study that procrastination and impulsivity, can be genetically inherited. They surveyed 181 identical and 166 fraternal twins and measured the participants’ tendency to procrastinate, act impulsively, and set and maintain goals. Identical twins share the same DNA while fraternal twins only share half of their DNA.

Answers of identical twins were then compared with data from fraternal twins. This method shows how important genes are compared to external factors that influence personality, such as family, school, and peers.

The researchers found that procrastinating and doing things on impulse are indeed inheritable. This could also be associated with setting up and maintaining goals. Being impulsive results in  procrastination, which further leads to failure in achieving goals.

The findings supported the idea that delaying responsibilities, making thoughtless decisions, and failing to reach goals share a genetic foundation.

According to the researchers, impulsivity may not be as beneficial today as it was in ancient times. Our ancestors were focused on getting immediate rewards since future survival was not certain for them. Over time, the world became more complex, and people started having long-term goals. That is why procrastination was born from impulsivity.

In addition, procrastination can have significant negative effects on one’s financial, psychological, and physical well-being in the long run.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What are the other effects of procrastination?
·         Do you think twins share a lot of similar traits? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         What should a person do in order to avoid procrastination?
·         Should a person blame all negative traits to his/her parents? Why or why not?

June 11, 2014