Author: Robyn WINTERBOTTOM
Genetic variation may play a significant role in the expression of complex personality and psychological traits. This article examines the relationship between heritable biological mechanisms and the psychological trait, impulsivity. In particular, dopamine is proposed to play a role in impulsive behaviours, and numerous studies have implicated functional polymorphisms of dopamine-related genes in impulsivity. This article reviews several studies concerning the role of dopamine receptor (DRD4) polymorphisms in the expression of an impulsivity sub-trait known as “novelty seeking”. Furthermore, this article focuses on recent approaches to the study of genetic variation, approaches to the measurement of novelty seeking, as well as other possible regulators of the trait in addition to genetics.