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Personality and responses to appetitive and aversive stimuli: the joint influence of behavioural approach and behavioural inhibition systems

journal contribution
posted on 2004-01-01, 00:00 authored by Nicolas KambouropoulosNicolas Kambouropoulos, Petra StaigerPetra Staiger
Gray’s reinforcement sensitivity theory (RST) posits two separable neurological systems involved in the regulation of personality and behaviour. The behavioural approach and inhibition systems facilitate the expression of appetitive (impulsive-sensation seeking traits) and aversive motivation (anxiety traits), respectively. Inconsistent findings regarding associations between measures of personality and behavioural responses to appetitive and aversive stimuli has led to a modification of RST including the notion that, rather than separable as first hypothesised, the two systems jointly influence behaviour. The current study was designed to investigate this proposal with an additional focus on the role of reinforcement expectancies. Seventy-eight participants completed two questionnaire measures of BIS/BAS activity (EPQ-R, SPSRQ) and two behavioural measures (Q-TASK, Card Arranging Reward Responsivity Objective Task). Findings were in general consistent with the original separable systems approach, however they also showed that aversive responses were highest in high BAS/high BIS individuals, thus suggesting an interactive account of BIS/BAS processes. Further, stronger positive correlations between self-report BAS traits and behavioural reward responsiveness were found for participants who perceived the task as more rewarding than initially expected. Discussion focuses on the role of reward expectancies and on the issue regarding separable vs. joint BIS/BAS systems.

History

Journal

Personality and individual differences

Volume

37

Issue

6

Pagination

1153 - 1165

Publisher

Pergamon

Location

Oxford, England

ISSN

0191-8869

eISSN

1873-3549

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2003, Elsevier Ltd