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Action, Emotion, and Personality: Emerging Conceptual Integration

journal contribution
posted on 01.08.2000 by Charles S. Carver, Steven K. Sutton, Michael Scheier

Several literatures converge on the idea that approach and positive affect related to goal pursuit are managed by one self-regulatory system and that avoidance (or withdrawal) and negative affect related to threats are managed by a second self-regulatory system. After briefly reviewing these literatures, the authors consider the relation of these themes to the broader domain of personality. In particular, they map individual differences in the responsivity of the approach system onto the personality dimension of extraversion and map individual differences in the responsivity of the withdrawal system onto the dimension of neuroticism. This mapping requires a slight refocusing of current conceptions of extraversion and neuroticism. However, such a refocusing brings a gain as well as a cost: In particular, it would embed these dimensions more explicitly in a process-oriented conceptualization of action control.