The Many Faces of Impulsivity

  • Jeffrey R. Stevens
Part of the Nebraska Symposium on Motivation book series (NSM, volume 64)


Impulsivity is a multifaceted concept that captures an inability to wait, a preference for risky outcomes, a tendency to act without forethought, an insensitivity to consequences, and/or an inability to inhibit inappropriate behaviors. Because it touches on so many different aspects of behavior, impulsivity connects to a number of other concepts including patience, self-control, delay of gratification, intertemporal choice, discounting, risky choice, risk taking, inhibitory control, and sensation seeking. Therefore, researchers have created a taxonomy that carves up the concept into different types of impulsivity. A primary distinction divides impulsivity into impulsive choice (or decision making) and impulsive action (or disinhibition) based on both behavioral correlates across tasks and neural mechanisms. Due to the many different varieties of impulsivity, this concept is of relevance to a large number of fields, including psychology, economics, biology, neuroscience, anthropology, nutrition, finance, and environmental sciences. The current volume reflects the scope of impulsivity by including contributors from a wide range of fields who work across levels of analysis, species, and timescales to understand the many faces of impulsivity.


Risk Preference Neural Circuitry Large Reward Risky Choice Impulsive Choice 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Organizing the 64th annual Nebraska Symposium on Motivation was a joy and a privilege. But the success of the symposium relied on the goodwill and hard work of many people. I am grateful for the financial support from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Harvey Perlman and from the late Professor Cora L. Friedline’s bequest to the University of Nebraska Foundation in memory of Professor Harry K. Wolfe. The symposium would not be possible without their generous gifts. I would also like to thank Professor Debra A. Hope, the symposium series editor, for shepherding me through the process of organizing the symposium—from advice on inviting speakers to help picking out the dessert tray. Finally, the symposium went off without a hitch, primarily due to the superb organization of Pam Waldvogel and the assistance of Emily Johnson and Juan Duque. Thank you for your time and hard work.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology and Center for Brain, Biology & BehaviorUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA

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