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Keywords:

  • Passive avoidance learning;
  • harm avoidance;
  • novelty seeking;
  • executive functions;
  • response reflection;
  • disinhibition

ABSTRACT Several theories have been proposed to account for the apparent non-responsiveness to punishment cues or aversive events demonstrated by members of some disinhibited groups. Included among these theories are those that emphasize individual differences in temperament, temperament-related biases associated with the allocation of attentional resources, and impairments in executive functions. This study examined the relative contribution of each of these variables to the prediction of passive avoidance errors (PAEs, or failures to inhibit responding to punishment cues) during a computerized go/no-go task. Variations in temperament, attentional allocation to punishment feedback, and executive functions were found to independently and additively contribute to the prediction of PAEs in a mixed sample of men and women recruited at a university campus (n=145). Results from this study, therefore, support multiple theoretical perspectives on PAEs as assessed by the go/no-go experimental paradigm.