Dispositions related to sensitivity in the neurological basis for activation of approach-avoidance motivation, antisocial attributes and individual differences in aggressive behavior

Gunnar Bjørnebekk1
1University of Oslo, Norway
Cite this article:  Bjørnebekk, G. (2007). Dispositions related to sensitivity in the neurological basis for activation of approach-avoidance motivation, antisocial attributes and individual differences in aggressive behavior. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 35, 1251-1264.

Volume 35 Issue 9 | e1656 | Published: October 2007 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2007.35.9.1251

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During the last 30 years, social learning theory has been at the theoretical forefront of research on development of antisocial behavior. Only a few studies have focused on temperamental factors that underlie, determine, and maintain antisocial behavior. Some of these studies suggest that high approach-reward drive, weak fear-motivation and weak punishment-insensitivity constitute a critical mix of temperamental variables associated with aggressive and violent behavior in individuals with high impulsivity or low effortful or inhibitory control (e.g., Rothbart, Ahadi, & Evans, 2000). The present study examines hypotheses drawn from temperament-based theories derived from Gray’s model (1987, 1991). There were 42 participants; a target group of 21 adolescents who had a defined behavioral problem, and a matched referential group of 21 adolescents who did not. The results suggest that attributes related to primary psychopathy are rooted in low anxiety/low fear, and predict both instrumental and emotional aggression. Moreover, attributes related to secondary psychopathy seem rooted in temperamental approach and are positively associated with dysregulation of negative affect.

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