Like socio-economic status and cognitive abilities, personality traits predict important life outcomes. Traits that reflect unusually low or high approach motivations, such as low extraversion and high disinhibition, are linked to various forms of mental disorder. Similarly, the dopamine system is theoretically linked to approach motivation traits and to various forms of mental disorder. Identifying neural contributions to extremes of such traits should map to neural sources of psychopathology, with dopamine a prime candidate. Notably, dopamine cells fire in response to unexpected reward, which suggests that the size of non-invasive, scalp-recorded potentials evoked by unexpected reward could reflect sensitivity in approach motivation traits. Here, we evaluated the validity of evoked electroencephalography (EEG) responses to unexpected reward in a monetary gain/loss task to assess approach motivation traits in 137 participants, oversampled for externalizing psychopathology symptoms. We demonstrated that over the 0–400 ms period in which feedback on the outcome was presented, responses evoked by unexpected reward contributed to all theoretically relevant approach motivation trait domains (disinhibition, extraversion and the behavioural activation system); and did so only at times when dopamine responses normally peak and reportedly code salience (70–100 ms) and valuation (200–300 ms). In particular, we linked “dopaminergic” salience and valuation to the psychopathology-related constructs of low extraversion (social anxiety) and high disinhibition (impulsivity) respectively, making the evoked potential components biomarker candidates for indexing aberrant processing of unexpected reward.