Behavioral inhibition system functioning in anxious, impulsive and psychopathic individuals

Joseph P. Newman, John F. Wallace, William A. Schmitt, Peter A. Arnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Behavioral inhibition system (BIS) functioning (Gray, The Psychology of Fear and Stress. Cambridge University Press, 1987) was assessed by measuring whether approach responses were emitted more slowly when a cue for punishment was present. Experiment 1 compared high- and low-anxious as well as high- and low-impulsive university students. As predicted by Gray's model (Gray, The neuropsychology of anxiety. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982), high-anxious subjects responded more slowly than low-anxious subjects on cue-present vs cue-absent displays. Experiment 2 compared incarcerated psychopaths and nonpsychopaths subdivided into high- and low-anxious groups. Consistent with weak BIS models of psychopathy (Fowles, Psychophysiology, 17, 87-104, 1980; Gray, The psychology of fear and stress, Cambridge University Press, 1987), psychopaths displayed less inhibition than controls on cue- present trials, but this effect was limited to comparisons involving high-anxious psychopaths and controls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)583-592
Number of pages10
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


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