Self-reported impulsivity is correlated with laboratory-measured escape behavior

James M. Bjork, Donald M. Dougherty, David Huang, Corey Scurlock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Aggression has been previously correlated with impulsive personality. In the present study, Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS) scores of 40 male controls aged 15–40 years were related to the frequency of free-operant aggressive and escape responses toward a fictitious antagonist. Participants earned “points” worth money with repeated button presses on a fixed-ratio schedule and were provoked by the periodic subtraction of a point. These subtractions were blamed on the behavior of a (fictitious) other participant, and aggressive responses (presses of a separate button) were defined as those emitted by the participant with an intent to subtract earnings from the other (fictitious) participant. BIS scores were not correlated with frequency of point-subtracting (aggressive) responses to the point subtractions, but they were correlated with the frequency of escape responses on a third button, which the participant was told would protect his points from subtraction for an unspecified period of time. These results suggest that among normal controls, impulsivity might be characterized by some sensitivity to aversive stimuli.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-174
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of General Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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