Reinforcement sensitivity theory predicts positive and negative affect in daily life

Natalie E. Hundt, Leslie H. Brown, Nathan A. Kimbrel, Molly A. Walsh, Rosemery Nelson-Gray, Thomas R. Kwapil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Laboratory studies of Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory have associated sensitivity to punishment (SP) with negative affect and sensitivity to reward (SR) with positive affect. However, few studies have examined the expression of these systems and their response to cues of reward in daily life. The current study employed experience sampling methodology (ESM) to assess the association of SP and SR with affect and perceptions of situations in daily life. SP was positively associated with negative affect and negatively associated with positive affect in daily life, whereas SR was associated with positive affect and one aspect of negative affect, irritability/anger. Furthermore, high SP participants experienced smaller increases in positive affect and smaller decreases in negative affect in some situations that were perceived as positive, in comparison to low SP participants. In contrast, high SR participants experienced greater decreases in negative affect in some situations that were perceived as positive, in comparison to low SR participants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)350-354
Number of pages5
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Volume54
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Affect
  • Daily life
  • Experience sampling methodology
  • Reinforcement sensitivity
  • Sensitivity to punishment
  • Sensitivity to reward

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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