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APPROACH-AVOIDANCE BEHAVIORS AS A FUNCTION OF PLEASANTNESS AND AROUSING QUALITY OF SETTINGS AND INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES IN STIMULUS SCREENING

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Abstract:

Preference, affiliation, and work, three intercorrelated aspects of approach-avoidance to everyday environments, were investigated using slide stimuli. The slides were selected from a sample of 360 portraying a variety of indoor and outdoor settings, each of which had been rated by groups of subjects on pleasantness-unpleasantness and arousing quality. The 72 slides used represented a 3 Pleasantness-Unpleasantness X 3 Arousing Quality X 8 Replications design. Written responses of subjects to the slides were obtained using standardized measures of approach-avoidance: desire to seek, stay in, and explore the setting (preference), desire to interact socially in the setting (affiliation), and desire to work in the setting (work). All three approach behaviors were monotonically increasing functions of setting pleasantness. Desire to work was inversely related to increases in arousing quality of settings. Arousing quality and pleasantness interacted to determine the dependent measures of preference and affiliation. Preference was an increasing function of arousing quality in pleasant situations, an inverted U-shaped function of arousing quality in neutrally pleasant situations, and a Ushaped function of arousing quality in unpleasant situations. Affiliation was affected primarily by arousing quality in unpleasant situations. Here, it was a U-shaped function of arousing quality—a relationship that was more pronounced for the more arousable (nonscreening) subjects. For the preference and work measures, screening and pleasantness also interacted, showing that variations in pleasantness-unpleasantness had a more pronounced effect on the approach behaviors of nonscreeners than of screeners.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.1979.7.2.223

Publication date: 1979-01-01

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