Passive avoidance learning as a function of Cloninger's temperament typology: An extension to male undergraduates

Alexander L. Chapman, Jennifer L. Mayer, Matthew W. Specht, Richard F. Farmer, Clinton E. Field

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Although research on the association between temperament and passive avoidance learning has produced somewhat consistent findings, there has been very little research on whether the observed relations differ as a function of sex. In a previous study with females, Farmer et al. (in press) reported that Cloninger's novelty seeking (NS) and harm avoidance (HA) dimensions interacted to predict passive avoidance errors (PAEs; or failures to inhibit previously punished responses), and that reflection on contingent feedback during the passive avoidance task mediated the association between temperament and PAEs. The purpose of this study was to extend these findings to a male undergraduate population. Eighty-six male undergraduates completed Cloninger's Temperament and Character Inventory and underwent a computerized passive avoidance learning task. In contrast with findings reported in Farmer et al., hierarchical regression analyses indicated no main or interactive effects of temperament in the prediction of PAEs; however, reflection on punishment feedback was negatively associated with the frequency of PAEs after controlling for response speed. Analyses also suggested that the males in this sample scored higher on NS, made fewer PAEs, and scored lower on HA and RD than the females in the Farmer et al. study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1571-1584
Number of pages14
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 1 2003


  • Cloninger
  • Passive avoidance
  • Punishment
  • Sex differences
  • Temperament

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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