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{{PersonPsy}}
'''Reinforcement sensitivity theory of personality'''('''RST''') is one of the main biological models of individual difference across areas of emotion, motivation and learning.
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'''Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory''' (RST) proposes three brain-behavioral systems that underlie individual differences in sensitivity to [[Reward system|reward]], [[punishment]], and [[motivation]]. While not originally defined as a theory of personality, the RST has been used to study and predict [[anxiety]], [[impulsivity]], and [[extraversion]].<ref name="Corr, 2008" /> The theory evolved from [[Gray's biopsychological theory of personality]] to incorporate findings from a number of areas in psychology and neuroscience, culminating in a major revision in 2000.<ref>Gray, J.A. and McNaughton, N., [http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/Psychology/Neuropsychology/?view=usa&ci=9780198522713 The Neuropsychology of Anxiety: An Enquiry into the Functions of the Septo-Hippocampal System], July 2003, (Oxford: Oxford University Press), ISBN 978-0-19-852271-3 and ISBN 0-19-852271-1</ref> The revised theory distinguishes between fear and anxiety and proposes functionally related subsystems. Measures of RST have not been widely adapted to reflect the revised theory due to disagreement over related versus independent subsystems.<ref name="Corr, 2004" /> Despite this controversy, RST informed the study of anxiety disorders in clinical settings and continues to be used today to study and predict work performance.<ref name="Clark and Loxton, 2011" /><ref name="Jackson, 2009" /> RST, a continuously evolving paradigm, is the subject of multiple areas of contemporary psychological enquiry.<ref>Corr, P.J., [http://www.cambridge.org/gb/knowledge/isbn/item1157646/?site_locale=en_GB ''The Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory of Personality''], April 2008, (Cambridge: Cambridge University), ISBN 978-0-521-61736-9</ref>
   
Three biological systems are proposed:
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==Origins and Evolution of the Theory==
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[[Gray's biopsychological theory of personality]] was informed by his earlier studies with Mowrer on [[Reward system|reward]], [[punishment]], and [[motivation]] and [[Eysenck|Hans Eysenck]]’s study of the biology of personality traits.<ref name="Gray, 1982">{{cite journal|last=Gray|first=Jeffrey A.|coauthors=Neil McNaughton|title=The neuropsychology of anxiety: An enquiry into the functions of the septo-hippocampal system.|journal=Oxford University Press|year=1982|url=http://stoa.usp.br/vahs/files/-1/16169/Gray%20e%20McNaughton%20-%20Neuropsychology%20of%20Anxiety.pdf}}</ref> Eysenck linked [[Extraversion]] to activation of the [[ascending reticular activating system|Ascending Reticular Activation System]] (ARAS), an area of the brain which regulates sleep and arousal transitions.<ref name="Corr, 2008">{{cite book|last=Corr|first=Phillip|title=The Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory of Personality|year=2008|publisher=Cambridge University Press|pages=1–5, 8–11, 51–55|url=http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=d9V_uf9TgVoC&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=reinforcement+sensitivity+theory+Corr,+2008&ots=ve_yvNl-0f&sig=1k6T9PEIPDCdzEtK1boWpK_rxvc#v=onepage&q&f=false}}</ref>
   
1.[[Flight-Fight-Freeze system]] (FFFS) which is characterised by:
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Eysenck's two original personality factors, [[Neuroticism]] and [[Extraversion]], were derived from the same lexical paradigm used by other researchers (e.g., [[Gordon Allport]],<ref>{{cite journal| authors=Allport, G. W., Odbert, H.S. |year=1936 |title=Trait-Names: A Psycho-lexical Study |journal=Psychological Monographs |volume=7 |issue=211}}</ref> [[Raymond Cattell]]<ref>{{cite journal| author=Raymond B. Cattell|year=1943 |title=The Description of personality: basic traits resolved into clusters |journal=Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology |volume=38 |pages=476–506}}</ref>) to delineate the structure of personality. Eysenck’s Extraversion-Arousal Hypothesis states that under low stimulation conditions, introverts (defined as low in Extraversion) will be more highly aroused than extraverts; however, under high stimulation, introverts may become over-aroused, which will feedback within the ARAS and result in ''decreases'' in arousal. Alternatively, extraverts tend to show greater increases in arousal under high stimulation.<ref name="Corr, 2004">{{cite journal|last=Corr|first=Phillip J.|title=Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory and Personality|journal=Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews|year=2004|volume=28|pages=317–332|url=http://www.ueapsychology.net/uploads/downloads/28.pdf|accessdate=4 April 2012}}</ref> Eysenck also studied the relationship between [[neuroticism]] and activation of the [[limbic system]] using classical emotional conditioning models. His theory focused more on [[anxiety]] as a disorder than a personality trait.<ref name="Corr, 2004" /> Eysenck’s theory predicts that introverts are more likely to develop anxiety disorders because they show higher neuroticism and stronger emotional conditioning responses under high arousal. His theory was criticized because introverts often show the opposite pattern, weaker classical conditioning under high arousal, and some supporting data confounded personality traits with time of day.<ref name="Matthews and Gilliland, 1999">{{cite journal|last=Matthews|first=Gerald|coauthors=Kirby Gilliland|title=The personality theories of H. J. Eysenck and J. A. Gray:|journal=Personality and Individual Differences|year=1999|volume=26|pages=583–636|url=http://www.numyspace.co.uk/~unn_evdw3/pdf/y2prac/eysenck.pdf|accessdate=2 April 2012}}</ref>
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===Gray's Biopsychological Theory: Behavioral Activation and Inhibition Systems===
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Unlike Eysenck, [[Jeffrey Alan Gray|Gray]] believed that personality traits and disorders could not be explained by classical conditioning alone. Gray proposed the Biopsychological Theory of personality in 1970 based on extensive animal research.<ref name=Larsen>Larsen, R. J., & Buss, D. M. (2009). ''Personality Psychology: Domains of Knowledge about Human Nature.'' New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.</ref> His theory emphasized the relationship between personality and sensitivity to reinforcement (i.e. [[reward]] and [[punishment]]). Eysenck’s theory emphasized Extraversion, Neuroticism, and arousal, while Gray’s theory emphasized Impulsivity, Anxiety, approach motivation, and avoidance motivation.<ref name="Matthews and Gilliland, 1999" />
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Gray's model of personality was based on three hypothesized brain systems:
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1.'''[[Flight-Fight-Freeze system]]''' (FFFS) which is characterised by:
 
*Sensitivity to aversive stimuli
 
*Sensitivity to aversive stimuli
 
*with associated defensive avoidance ([[fear]]) and escape([[panic]])
 
*with associated defensive avoidance ([[fear]]) and escape([[panic]])
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*The FFS mediates reactions of [[rage]] and panic, [[flight versus fight]], and is sensitive to unconditioned aversive stimuli. FFS is often referred to as the '''threat system'''.<ref name="Gray, 1982"/>
   
2. [[Behavioral approach system]](BAS) characterised by:
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2. '''[[Behavioral approach system]]'''(BAS) characterised by:
 
*Sensitivity to appetitive stimuli
 
*Sensitivity to appetitive stimuli
 
*Associated approach and anticipatory pleasure ([[hope]]
 
*Associated approach and anticipatory pleasure ([[hope]]
   
3. [[Behavioural Inhibition System]] (BIS)characterized by:
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*The BAS includes brain regions involved in regulating [[arousal]]: [[cerebral cortex]], [[thalamus]], and [[striatum]].<ref>De Pascalis, V., Fiore, A., Sparita, A. (1996). Personality, event-related potential (ERP) and heart rate (HR): An investigation of Gray's theory. ''Personality and Individual Differences, 20'', 733-746.</ref> The system is responsive to conditioned and unconditioned reward cues. BAS regulates approach behaviors and is referred to as the '''reward system'''.<ref name=Larsen /> In general, individuals with a more active BAS tend to be more impulsive and may have difficulty inhibiting their behavior when approaching a goal.<ref name=Gray>Gray, J. A. (1991). The neurophysiology of temperament. In J. Strelau & A. Angleitner (Eds.), ''Explorations in temperament: International perspectives on theory and measurement'' (pp. 105-128). New York, NY: Plenum.</ref>
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3. '''[[Behavioural Inhibition System]]''' (BIS)characterized by:
 
*Sensitivity to goal conflict (eg [[approach-avoidance]]
 
*Sensitivity to goal conflict (eg [[approach-avoidance]]
 
*Linked with [[rumination]], [[anxiety]]
 
*Linked with [[rumination]], [[anxiety]]
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*The BIS also includes brain regions involved in regulating arousal: [[Brainstem|the brain stem]], and neocortical projections to the [[frontal lobe]]. BIS is responsive to [[punishment]], [[novelty]], uncertainty, and non-rewarding stimuli. BIS regulates [[avoidance behaviors]] and is often referred to as the '''punishment system'''. Individuals with more active BIS may be vulnerable to negative emotions, including [[frustration]], [[anxiety]], [[fear]], and sadness.<ref name=Larsen /><ref name=Gray />
   
   
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==Personality theory==
 
Personality is said to reflect variations in these systems.
 
Personality is said to reflect variations in these systems.
   

Revision as of 19:49, October 16, 2013

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Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory (RST) proposes three brain-behavioral systems that underlie individual differences in sensitivity to reward, punishment, and motivation. While not originally defined as a theory of personality, the RST has been used to study and predict anxiety, impulsivity, and extraversion.[1] The theory evolved from Gray's biopsychological theory of personality to incorporate findings from a number of areas in psychology and neuroscience, culminating in a major revision in 2000.[2] The revised theory distinguishes between fear and anxiety and proposes functionally related subsystems. Measures of RST have not been widely adapted to reflect the revised theory due to disagreement over related versus independent subsystems.[3] Despite this controversy, RST informed the study of anxiety disorders in clinical settings and continues to be used today to study and predict work performance.[4][5] RST, a continuously evolving paradigm, is the subject of multiple areas of contemporary psychological enquiry.[6]

Origins and Evolution of the Theory

Gray's biopsychological theory of personality was informed by his earlier studies with Mowrer on reward, punishment, and motivation and Hans Eysenck’s study of the biology of personality traits.[7] Eysenck linked Extraversion to activation of the Ascending Reticular Activation System (ARAS), an area of the brain which regulates sleep and arousal transitions.[1]

Eysenck's two original personality factors, Neuroticism and Extraversion, were derived from the same lexical paradigm used by other researchers (e.g., Gordon Allport,[8] Raymond Cattell[9]) to delineate the structure of personality. Eysenck’s Extraversion-Arousal Hypothesis states that under low stimulation conditions, introverts (defined as low in Extraversion) will be more highly aroused than extraverts; however, under high stimulation, introverts may become over-aroused, which will feedback within the ARAS and result in decreases in arousal. Alternatively, extraverts tend to show greater increases in arousal under high stimulation.[3] Eysenck also studied the relationship between neuroticism and activation of the limbic system using classical emotional conditioning models. His theory focused more on anxiety as a disorder than a personality trait.[3] Eysenck’s theory predicts that introverts are more likely to develop anxiety disorders because they show higher neuroticism and stronger emotional conditioning responses under high arousal. His theory was criticized because introverts often show the opposite pattern, weaker classical conditioning under high arousal, and some supporting data confounded personality traits with time of day.[10]

Gray's Biopsychological Theory: Behavioral Activation and Inhibition Systems

Unlike Eysenck, Gray believed that personality traits and disorders could not be explained by classical conditioning alone. Gray proposed the Biopsychological Theory of personality in 1970 based on extensive animal research.[11] His theory emphasized the relationship between personality and sensitivity to reinforcement (i.e. reward and punishment). Eysenck’s theory emphasized Extraversion, Neuroticism, and arousal, while Gray’s theory emphasized Impulsivity, Anxiety, approach motivation, and avoidance motivation.[10]

Gray's model of personality was based on three hypothesized brain systems:


1.Flight-Fight-Freeze system (FFFS) which is characterised by:

  • Sensitivity to aversive stimuli
  • with associated defensive avoidance (fear) and escape(panic)
  • The FFS mediates reactions of rage and panic, flight versus fight, and is sensitive to unconditioned aversive stimuli. FFS is often referred to as the threat system.[7]

2. Behavioral approach system(BAS) characterised by:

  • Sensitivity to appetitive stimuli
  • Associated approach and anticipatory pleasure (hope
  • The BAS includes brain regions involved in regulating arousal: cerebral cortex, thalamus, and striatum.[12] The system is responsive to conditioned and unconditioned reward cues. BAS regulates approach behaviors and is referred to as the reward system.[11] In general, individuals with a more active BAS tend to be more impulsive and may have difficulty inhibiting their behavior when approaching a goal.[13]

3. Behavioural Inhibition System (BIS)characterized by:


Personality theory

Personality is said to reflect variations in these systems.

This theory also suggests why some individuals might be more prone to some psychological disorders than others. So for example, someone with a particularly active BAS might be likely to develop disinhibitory disorders;a person with an active FFFS may be more prone to developing phobias or panic disorder


See also


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