Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory

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Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory and Personalities
In order to better understand someone’s personality, we must first take a look at their behaviors, how they react and what is driving those behaviors. According to John B. Watson, the “goal of psychology is the prediction and control of behavior and that goal could best be reached by limiting psychology to an objective study of habits formed through stimulus-response connections” (Feist, G., Feist, J., Roberts, p. 452) (2013). Behavior can be extremely difficult to understand because the motivation, or the drives behind the behavior are not always clear to others.
The reinforcement sensitivity theory is of interest to me because I see correlations between RST and B.F. Skinner’s Behaviorism
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In 2002, Phillip Corr conducted research to find out if people have different response sensitivities depending on their personalities. Philip Corr sought to challenge the original RST theory which predicted that anxious people would be more sensitive when in a negative state and impulsivity would not play a factor. “Reinforcement sensitivity theory predicts that introverts, likely to be more anxious individuals, should be more sensitive to punishment due to their strong need to avoid aversive states. Like extraverts, highly impulsive individuals should be more sensitive to reward because of their strong need to experience positive states” (Feist, G., Feist, J., Roberts, 2013, p. 476).
According to Corr these traits should act jointly and interdependently, in order to align with his theory of the joint influence. Corr believed that impulsivity would actually interact with anxiety and that such anxious and impulsive individuals would respond less to a startle stimulus than anxious, but non-impulsive people. This idea differed from the previous
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The research found that the joint subsystem was accurate in its theory. In anxious individuals, impulsivity acted as a sort of “buffer” to bring responsiveness to startle reflex low while in a negative setting, in this case, viewing disturbing images. They were less responsive than in the case anxious but non-impulsive individuals; that were also shown those images. Impulsive people are often “not very conscientious” and although they are often sensitive or excited by rewards; however, they are not as sensitive to punishment or threat (Furnham, "Impulsivity: Good or Bad?").This explains why the negative images did not impact them as much and reinforces the theory that traits are jointly interdependent in the personalities of

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