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Advances in Psychological Science    2012, Vol. 20 Issue (11) : 1803-1811     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2012.01803
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The Distinction Between Approach and Avoidance Motivation and Its Implication on Psychopathology
LIU Hui-Jun;GAO Lei
School of Medical Humanities, Tianjin Medical University, Tian Jin 300070, China
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Abstract  The most fundamental systems of motivation are approach and avoidance, which reflect how individuals interact with the environment and represent the core functions of individuals’ adaption to the environment. Avoidance motivation facilitates thriving of an individual, whereas approach motivation facilitates surviving. The two motivation systems are asymmetrically locate in the prefrontal cortex. Approach Motivation is linked to the left PFC activation, whereas avoidance motivation corresponds to the right PFC activation. Youngstorm and Izard etc. suggested that dysregulation of the approach and avoidance systems might result in some emotional and behavioral disorders, including mania, depression, anxiety, and ADHD. This association has been confirmed by some epidemiological and clinical studies. Future research should focus on the role of approach and avoidance motivation on emotion and cognitive function. More evidence should be provided to verify the dysregulation model and the plasticity of the two systems.
Keywords approach      avoidance      motivation      emotion      asymmetrical frontal cortical activity     
Corresponding Authors: LIU Hui-Jun   
Issue Date: 01 November 2012
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GAO Lei
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LIU Hui-Jun,GAO Lei. The Distinction Between Approach and Avoidance Motivation and Its Implication on Psychopathology[J]. Advances in Psychological Science, 2012, 20(11): 1803-1811.
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http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlkxjz/EN/10.3724/SP.J.1042.2012.01803     OR     http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlkxjz/EN/Y2012/V20/I11/1803
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