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Impulsivity and Addiction Genetically Linked

Impulsive and addictive behaviors are genetically linked in men, but not in women, says a new study from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. The gene in question is called NRXN3.

What’s the Latest Development?

A new study from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, suggests impulsive behavior is genetically linked with addiction. A small segment of DNA—the gene NRXN3—has already been linked to drug addiction and obesity and now scientists think impulsive behavior lies beneath individuals’ inability to control their own actions. According to the research, “In men, but not women, having a certain variant of NRXN3 increased the risk of problems with alcohol by 2.5 times.”

What’s the Big Idea?

The connection between single genes and behavior is not straightforward and having, or not having, a particular gene in no way determines one’s behavior. “You almost can’t paint a complicated enough picture of how genes are associated with behaviors,” said study researcher Scott Stoltenberg, a psychologist at the University of Nebraska. “There are a lot of factors out there that influence our behaviors, and genes are just one of them.”


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