Approaching Spiders: How Aversive Stimuli Evoke Preventive Approach Reactions in High BAS individuals.
MetadataShow full item record
To better understand the intricate workings of automatic approach and avoidance and investigate the possibility of inducing approach on aversive stimuli, the present research tested individuals different in Behavioral Approach System (BAS) motivation and their appropriate reactions on valanced stimuli. Spiders as Aversive stimuli and Toy-Cars as Control stimuli moved on a 21.5 inch touchscreen either Towards or Away from the participants. The participants were instructed to react as fast as they could by pressing the stimuli on the screen. In line with the hypothesis the investigation revealed that individuals with different BAS motivations exhibit different reactions on approaching aversive stimuli. While low BAS individuals reacted slower to Spiders than to Toy-Cars in both the Away moving and Towards moving trials (indicating avoidance), the high BAS individuals engaged the Spiders (significantly) faster than the Toy-Cars in trials where the stimuli moved Towards the participants (exhibiting an immediate approach reaction). These findings would then correspond to evolutionary theories on mechanisms that facilitate the survival of individuals and species. Animals and humans alike are believed to exhibit freezing reactions when a predator is moving away, while, if the threat is proximal, exhibit fight or flight.