Published online by Cambridge University Press: 18 September 2020
Approach and avoidance theories of personality try to account for the systematic individual differences observed in reactions to classes of appetitive (“rewarding”) and aversive (“punishing”) stimuli. These individual differences reflect the operation of neuropsychological systems underpinning primary forms of motivation and emotion – accordingly, they are phylogenetically old, of evolutionary significance and of wide scale applicability (e.g., Krupić, Banai & Corr, 2018). The literature now has grown to include a family of approach and avoidance theories of personality. As detailed below, this literature is a culmination of research conducted over the last one hundred years, although its philosophical roots go back much further.