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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2001 Feb;80(2):311-24.

Distinguishing BIS-mediated and BAS-mediated disinhibition mechanisms: a comparison of disinhibition models of Gray (1981, 1987) and of Patterson and Newman (1993).

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Department de Psicologia Bàsica, Clínica i Psicobiologia, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón, Spain.


The theoretical framework developed by J. A. Gray (1981, 1987a, 1987b) was used to study disinhibitory behavior. Using a point-scoring reaction time procedure, 4 different experiments were conducted to differentiate 2 disinhibitory mechanisms associated with the behavioral activation system (BAS) and the behavioral inhibition system (BIS). Consistent with the work of C. M. Patterson and J. P. Newman (1993), the BAS-mediated mechanism was related to a lack of inhibition in reward-directed behavior after introducing an occasional aversive contingency and to deficits in learning from aversive cues when responding for reward (Experiments 1-3). The BIS-mediated mechanism was related to a higher ability to extinguish aversive associations (Experiment 1), a lower aversive generalization gradient (Experiment 3), and a lower interference with appetitive behavior in the presence of aversive stimuli (Experiment 4).

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