Personality and reinforcement in associative and instrumental learning

Corr, Philip J; Pickering, Alan and Gray, Jeffrey A. 1995. Personality and reinforcement in associative and instrumental learning. Personality and Individual Differences, 19(1), pp. 47-71. ISSN 0191-8869 [Article]

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A two-stage (associative and instrumental) learning task was developed to examine the role of personality in mediating: (1) the development of appetitive and aversive CS-UCS associations; and (2) passive avoidance of aversive CSs, and approach to appetitive CSs, in instrumental learning. The results showed: (1) that harm avoidance [as measured by the Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire (TPQ)] predicted aversive CS-UCS associations, while [TPQ] reward dependence predicted appetitive CS-UCS associations (no personality factors predicted neutral CS-UCS associations); and (2) that subjects high in impulsivity [as measured by the IVE scale of the Eysenck Personality Scales (EPS)] showed poor passive avoidance to the aversive-CS, while subjects high in trait anxiety [as measured by the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI)] showed poor approach behaviour to the appetitive-CS. A correlational study with TPQ and Eysenck Personality Questionnaire [EPQ] factors revealed the structural comparability of these two descriptive systems. The results suggest that associative and instrumental learning under appetitive and aversive conditions do not reflect a general (arousal-based) learning factor, and that specific personality factors mediate reward and punishment in the two stages of learning. The findings are discussed in relation to Eysenck's, Gray's, Cloninger's, and Newman's models of personality.

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July 1995Published

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20 Mar 2015 13:46

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04 Jul 2017 10:31

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