Affective reactivity in agentic and affiliative extraversion

  • Greig Inglis

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The affective-reactivity hypothesis holds that extraverts experience greater levels of positive affect in response to rewards than do introverts. This issue is complicated by the fact that extraversion is comprised of two major components of agency and affiliation. Agentic extraversion reflects social dominance, exhibitionism and achievement striving, whilst affiliative extraversion reflects being warm, affectionate, and valuing close relationships with others. Both components of extraversion have been found to be associated with particular forms of affective reactivity: agentic extraversion predicts positive activation in response to appetitive rewards, whilst affilaitve extraversion predicts warmth-affection in response to affiliative rewards. The aim of this thesis was to test affective reactivity in agentic and affiliative extraversion. Additional issues such as the role of cognitive appraisals in affective reactivity, and whether individual differences in reward sensitivity are also observable in physiological markers of emotion were also examined. Affective-reactivity was tested in response to social behaviours, mental imagery and film clips. It was predicted that agentic extraversion would predict positive activation in response to appetitive situations and that affiliative extraversion would predict warmth-affection and pleasure in response to affiliative situations. There was no support for the predictions regarding agentic extraversion, and affiliative extraversion was only found to predict pleasure and warmth-affection following affiliative mental imagery. The relationships between affiliative extraversion and affect were also found to be mediated by cognitive appraisals, and there was some evidence that affiliative extraversion is associated with zygomaticus activation in response to an affiliative film clip. In sum, support for the affective reactivity hypothesis in agentic and affiliative extraversion was limited. Issues for future researchers to consider include how different experimental methods differentially induce emotion, and how agentic and affiliative extraversion should be conceptualised and measured.
Date of Award7 Oct 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde

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