Psychology & Psychiatry

Childhood empathy important predictor of aggression

Young children who are less empathetic than their peers are more likely to be aggressive when older. This is what Malou Noten concludes in her dissertation. Ph.D. defense on 25 November.

Neuroscience

Myelin optimizes information processing in the brain

In a conversation, we can easily understand and distinguish individual words. In the brain, the temporal structure of speech with its rapid succession of sounds and pauses and its characteristic rhythm is encoded by electrical ...

Neuroscience

Testing the fluorescent proteins that light up the brain

Neurons are cells in your brain. Shaped like little stars, they flicker and fire off signals to each other. The signals travel up and down the long tendrils, called dendrites, extending out from each point of a neuron's star-shaped ...

Neuroscience

New mechanism affecting nerve impulses discovered

Researchers at Linköping University, Sweden, have discovered a new mechanism by which substances can open a certain type of ion channel and thereby regulate nerve impulses. The study, published in the scientific journal ...

Medications

Inhibiting epileptic activity in the brain

Epileptic seizures often originate in small, localized areas of the brain where neurons abnormally fire in unison. These electrical impulses disrupt proper brain functioning and cause seizures. But what makes regions where ...

Attention deficit disorders

Q&A: Diagnosing ADHD

DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I am mom to two energetic boys, ages 5 and 8. A neighbor commented that my children must have ADHD. What is ADHD exactly and how do I tell the difference between a kid who just has a ton of energy and one ...

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Impulsivity

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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