Behavioral Inhibition, Behavioral Activation, and Affective Responses to Impending Reward and Punishment: The BIS/BAS Scales

Charles S. Carver, Teri L. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3954 Scopus citations

Abstract

Gray (1981, 1982) holds that 2 general motivational systems underlie behavior and affect: a behavioral inhibition system (BIS) and a behavioral activation system (BAS). Self-report scales to assess dispositional BIS and BAS sensitivities were created. Scale development (Study 1) and convergent and discriminant validity in the form of correlations with alternative measures are reported (Study 2). In Study 3, a situation in which Ss anticipated a punishment was created. Controlling for initial nervousness, Ss high in BIS sensitivity (assessed earlier) were more nervous than those low. In Study 4, a situation in which Ss anticipated a reward was created. Controlling for initial happiness, Ss high in BAS sensitivity (Reward Responsiveness and Drive scales) were happier than those low. In each case the new scales predicted better than an alternative measure. Discussion is focused on conceptual implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-333
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Volume67
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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