BIS/BAS sensitivity and self-rated affects during experimentally induced stress

Tarja Heponiemi, Liisa Keltikangas-Järvinen, Sampsa Puttonen, Niklas Ravaja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

79 Citations (Scopus)


Sensitivities of behavioral inhibition and behavioral approach as related to dispositions to experience emotions in laboratory induced stress were examined among 95 randomly selected 21-36-year-old healthy men (n=49) and women (n=46). Gray's temperament theory was used to define behavioral inhibition (BIS) and behavioral approach (BAS) with Carver and White's BIS/BAS scales. The circumplex model of affect was used to structure the self-reported affects. Stressors used were the aversive startle task, the appetitive mental arithmetic task, and the aversive choice-deadline reaction time task. The main finding was that BAS sensitivity was generally associated with pleasant affects with an especially great increase of Activated Pleasant Affect during the appetitive task. BIS sensitivity was, on the other hand, associated with unpleasant affects with a great increase of Activated Unpleasant Affect during aversive tasks. A conclusion was that BIS sensitivity could predispose a person to emotional distress in stressful situations and, probably, to a higher stress vulnerability with its somatic endpoints.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)943-957
Number of pages15
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2003
Externally publishedYes
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • BAS
  • Behavioral inhibition
  • BIS, behavioral approach
  • Circumplex model
  • Emotions
  • Gray
  • Stress
  • Temperament

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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