Passive avoidance learning in extraverted females

Pilar Segarra, Javier Moltó, Rafael Torrubia

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16 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to investigate the mechanisms underlying passive avoidance learning in females in order to contrast Newman's (disinhibition as a consequence of BAS hyperactivity) with Gray's perspective (disinhibition can also appear as a consequence of BIS hypoactivity). Two computerized versions of the go/no-go discrimination task used by Newman et al. [Newman, J. P., Widom, C. S., & Nathan, S. (1985). Passive avoidance in syndromes of disinhibition: psychopathy and extraversion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 48, 1316-1327]. were administered to groups classified according to extraversion and neuroticism. The results showed that, unlike the work with males, condition R + P (situation involving cues for both reward and punishment) did not produce differences in passive avoidance errors (PAEs) between (neurotic) extraverts and (stable) introverts. In contrast, neurotic introverts tended to make more PAEs than the other groups but only when condition R + P was performed first. With regard to condition P (situation involving only cues for punishment), results showed that stable extraverts tended to display behavioural disinhibition when condition P was performed in second place. These results suggest that disinhibition is a complex phenomenon that may be mediated by either BIS hypoactivity, BAS hyperactivity or even BIS hyperactivity, and by the interaction of all these mechanisms with the involvement of some of the variables such as gender, personality, motivation, task and subject's anxiety state. © 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-254
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000


  • Disinhibition
  • Extraversion
  • Gender differences
  • Gray's model
  • Neuroticism
  • Passive avoidance


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