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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1994 Jun;66(6):1128-39.

Temperament and attention: orienting toward and away from positive and negative signals.

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Department of Psychology, Oregon State University, Corvallis 97331.


Two studies used a target detection task to examine temperament-related attentional biases toward and away from significant stimuli. Pretarget cues were used to orient attention to locations carrying a positive incentive value (where points could be gained) or a negative value (where points could be lost). Under both involuntary and voluntary conditions, extraverts were slow to shift attention away from positive locations, whereas introverts were slow to shift from negative locations. These biases were enhanced on trials following negative feedback and tended to be strongest in Ss high in Neuroticism. The findings support models proposing that Extraversion reflects the combined activity of positive (strongest in extraverts) and negative (strongest in introverts) incentive motivational processes. They further suggest that incentive processes regulate the ability to shift attention away from, rather than toward, significant stimuli.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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