Neil McNaughton, Colin G. DeYoung, Philip J. Corr

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

36 Scopus citations


Approach and avoidance behaviors have evolved with adaptive constraints common to a plethora of positive and negative goals, respectively. Approach and avoidance systems are linked by contingencies to distinct systems that value positive (gain) and negative (loss) stimuli (e.g., omission of gain results in avoidance). An additional, phylogenetically old, behavioral inhibition system resolves goal conflicts (e.g., approach-avoidance). With this functional and neuropsychological analysis as a foundation, we review the neuroimaging data on transient mental states and more permanent traits (particularly extraversion and neuroticism) linked to approach, avoidance, and conflict. This field is in its infancy and we conclude by discussing theoretical problems that limit our identification of factors and methodological problems, particularly insufficient numbers in imaging samples, that limit the evidential value of most current results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNeuroimaging Personality, Social Cognition, and Character
EditorsJ R Absher, J Cloutier
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)9780128009352
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2018 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Approach
  • Avoidance
  • Behavioral Inhibition System
  • Conflict
  • Extraversion
  • Neuroticism


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