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Risk as reward: Reinforcement sensitivity theory and psychopathic personality perspectives on everyday risk-taking

Satchell, L.P., Bacon, A.M., Firth, J. L. & Corr, P. J. ORCID: 0000-0002-7618-0058 (2018). Risk as reward: Reinforcement sensitivity theory and psychopathic personality perspectives on everyday risk-taking. Personality and Individual Differences, 128, pp. 162-169. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2018.02.039


This study updates and synthesises research on the extent to which impulsive and antisocial disposition predicts everyday pro- and antisocial risk-taking behaviour. We use the Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory (RST) of personality to measure approach, avoidance, and inhibition dispositions, as well as measures of Callous-Unemotional and psychopathic personalities. In an international sample of 454 respondents, results showed that RST, psychopathic personality, and callous-unemotional measures accounted for different aspects of risk-taking behaviour. Specifically, traits associated with ‘fearlessness’ related more to ‘prosocial’ (recreational and social) risk-taking, whilst traits associated with ‘impulsivity’ related more to ‘antisocial’ (ethical and health) risk-taking. Further, we demonstrate that psychopathic personality may be demonstrated by combining the RST and callous-unemotional traits (high impulsivity, callousness, and low fear). Overall this study showed how impulsive, fearless and antisocial traits can be used in combination to identify pro- and anti-social risk-taking behaviours; suggestions for future research are indicated.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2018, Elsevier. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Publisher Keywords: Personality; Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory; Psychopathy; Callous-unemotional traits; Risk-taking
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of Satchell Bacon Firth  Corr %282018%29 Risk as Reward RST and psychopathic personality on risk taking.pdf]
Text - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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