Measures of Behavioral Inhibition and Activation System Sensitivity as Predictors of Big Five Personality Traits

Valerija Križanić, Zrinka Greblo, Zvonimir Knezović

Abstract


In the Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory, Gray (1987) described three hypothetical biological brain systems, assumed to represent underpinnings of the stable patterns of experience and behaviour. Most research has been devoted to studying behavioural inhibition system (BIS) and behavioural activation system (BAS), which have shown relatively stable associations with neuroticism and extroversion, respectively. BIS/BAS scale (Carver & White, 1994) is one of the most frequently used instruments for measuring these constructs. The questionnaire contains one scale of BIS sensitivity that captures reactions to appearance or anticipation of punishment, and three subscales of BAS sensitivity which are aimed to assess distinct but related constructs: BAS – Drive, that relate to persistence in achieving desired goals; BAS - Fun seeking, that relates to desire for new rewarding experiences and indicates person's readiness to engage in potentially rewarding situation, and BAS – Reward sensitivity, that measures positive reactions to appearance or anticipation of reward.The aim of the current study was to explore to what extent individual differences in personality traits can be predicted based on measures of BIS and BAS sensitivity. In this paper we analysed the data of 284 female students, that completed translated and adapted Croatian version of BIS/BAS scales, as well as International Personality Item Pool (IPIP 50) which measures the Big-Five personality domains. Exploratory factor analysis indicated that the factor structure of Croatian version of BIS/BAS scale was comparable to the original instrument. Results of the regression analysis revealed that BIS scale was a significant predictor of emotional instability, while BAS subscales showed different patterns of relationships with measured personality traits. These results indicate the importance of measuring distinct aspects of BAS sensitivity.

Keywords


bihevioral inhibition and activation system; personality traits

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