People often assume that procrastination is a choice and that the personality trait — which sees people delay necessary tasks — is a sign of laziness.


However, new research suggests that genes may play a role.


Previous research has associated both biological and psychological factors with procrastination.


The results of a 2018 study showed that people with a tendency to procrastinate had a bigger amygdala — the section of the brain that processes emotions.


The same research team has now studied whether there is an association between the trait and genetics.


After examining identical and fraternal twins, the authors of a previous study, which featured in Psychological Science, concluded that 46% of the tendency to procrastinate might be down to genes.

此前发表在《Psychological Science》杂志上的一项研究研究了同卵双胞胎和异卵双胞胎,其作者得出的结论是46%的拖延倾向都是由基因决定的。

However, researchers still do not know the specific genetic difference that could result in this trait.


Dr. Erhan Gen, from Ruhr-Universitt Bochum in Germany, believes that he may now have the answer.

德国波鸿鲁尔大学的Erhan Gen博士认为他现在可能找到答案了。

But, there is a catch: it only relates to women.


The expression of the TH gene differs among individuals, leading to varying levels of dopamine and other neurotransmitters in individual brains. Previous studies have already linked increased dopamine levels with impulsive behavior.

个体之间酪氨酸羟基因(TH gene)表达存在差异,导致个体大脑中分泌的多巴胺和其他神经递质的水平也有所不同。此前的研究已经发现了多巴胺水平升高与冲动行为之间的联系。

"The neurotransmitter dopamine has repeatedly been associated with increased cognitive flexibility in the past," notes Dr. Gen. "This is not fundamentally bad but is often accompanied by increased distractibility."


The chemical's ability to affect cognitive control may, therefore, affect whether a person delays a task or performs it efficiently.