Impulsivity (or impulsiveness) is a personality trait characterized by the inclination of an individual to initiate behavior without adequate forethought as to the consequences of their actions, acting on the spur of the moment. Eysenck and Eysenck related impulsivity to risk-taking, lack of planning, and making up one's mind quickly. Impulsivity has been shown to be a major component of various neuropsychiatric disorders such as ADHD, substance abuse disorders and bipolar disorder. Impulsivity has been shown to have a genetic component and may be inheritable. Abnormal patterns of impulsivity may also be an acquired trait as a result of various neurodegenerative diseases, traumatic brain injury (TBI), hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, intrauterine hypoxia, bacterial or viral infections or neurotoxicity as a result of chemical exposure. The orbitofrontal cortex and right inferior frontal gyrus have been shown to play a part in impulse control.
As a personality trait, impulsivity is part of normal behavior as it contributes to adaptive functioning. To do something and not be aware, especially for young children, is relatively common. Recent psychological research has suggested that there are various facets of impulsivity. Some researchers have proposed a 3-factor model according to impulsivity; attentional ("getting easily bored"), motor ("going into action") and cognitive ("inability to plan") factors. Recent theories have suggested five separate aspects of impulsivity:
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