Approach, avoidance, and the self-regulation of affect and action

Charles S. Carver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

302 Scopus citations


Several literatures converge on the idea that approach and avoidance/withdrawal behaviors are managed by two partially distinct self-regulatory system. The functions of these systems also appear to be embodied in discrepancy-reducing and -enlarging feedback loops, respectively. This article describes how the feedback construct has been used to address these two classes of action and the affective experiences that relate to them. Further discussion centers on the development of measures of individual differences in approach and avoidance tendencies, and how these measures can be (and have been) used as research tools, to investigate whether other phenomena have their roots in approach or avoidance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-110
Number of pages6
JournalMotivation and Emotion
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2006


  • Approach avoidance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Social Psychology


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