Psychology of Impulsivity

Jim H. Patton and Matthew S. Stanford

in The Oxford Handbook of Impulse Control Disorders

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780195389715
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Psychology of Impulsivity


Impulsive behavior is generally viewed as counterproductive by society, and individual differences in impulsivity have been found to be related to a number of socially relevant behaviors. Yet, there are times when acting quickly and without thinking may seem desirable, even adaptive. With the possible exception of intelligence, no other personality dimension or trait so broadly influences various areas of human endeavor: interpersonal relationships, education, fiscal responsibility, personal moral behavior, business ethics and entrepreneurship, aggression, and criminality. This chapter gives an overview of impulsivity from a personality theory perspective. Topics discussed include the historical development of the construct, the place of impulsivity in a broader personality theory, self-report and behavioral assessment, and the role of impulsiveness in impulse control disorders.

Keywords: impulse control; impulsivity self-report measures; behavioral disinhibition; nonplanning; Barratt; Eysenck; delayed discounting; impulsive personality

Article.  9271 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Clinical Psychology

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