The meaning of this complex construct is widely debated, including whether it is a stable aspect of personality (trait) or a behavior (state). Most descriptions center on negative aspects and include a reference to behavior executed rapidly without forethought and/or self-control, failure of attention, delay discounting, or probability discounting. There are four main types of impulsivity measures: observer-rated scales (e.g., diagnostic interviews), self-report questionnaires (e.g., Barratt Impulsiveness Scale), behavioral laboratory measures (e.g., reward-choice paradigms), and biological measures (e.g., event-related potentials).
Reacting quickly without forethought can be prudent. For instance, a race-car driver whose split-second decision results in victory is exhibiting functional impulsivity, characterized by rapid response time. However, particularly in psychology, emphasis is placed on the...
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