Please wait a minute...
Acta Psychologica Sinica
Impact of Reward/punishment Conditions on Behavioral Inhibition and Automatic Physiological Responses in the Stages
GU Li; BAI Xuejun; WANG Qin
(Academy of Psychology and Behavior, Tianjing Normal University; Center of Cooperative Innovation for Assessment and Promotion of National Mental Health, Tianjing 300074, China)
Download: PDF(950 KB)   Review File (1 KB) 
Export: BibTeX | EndNote | Reference Manager | ProCite | RefWorks    

Though the revised reinforcement sensitivity theory (RST) provides a biological interpretation for the relationship between emotions and behavioral inhibition aroused by reward/punishment, it is still somewhat limited when attempting to explain specific phenomena. This may be attributed to factors such as the type, degree, and duration of reward/punishment stimuli, which have differed across studies. For instance, in many studies reward/punishment is a within-subjects factor, however, in clinical situations a cumulative and constant reward/punishment model is more commonly encountered, such as persistent praise or criticism of a certain individual. Furthermore, the emotion triggered by cumulative reward/punishment could manifest at any stage of the task completing process. Accordingly, this research investigated the impact of cumulative reward/punishment conditions on inhibition and automatic physiological responses during different time stages. Forty-five college students were allocated to a reward group, punishment group, or control group at random. The experiment used the Super Lab system to present stimuli and record the response time and rate of error inhibition shown by the subjects during the stop-signal task. Automatic physiological responses were collected continuously throughout the whole procedure (preparatory stage, working stage, feedback stage and reward/punishment stage) by a 16-channel physiological recording system. The results showed that: (1) in the absence of the stop-signal task, the response time of the reward group and punishment group was significantly longer than that of control group, and during the stop-signal task, the error inhibition rate of the reward group and punishment group was significantly lower than that of control group. However, there were no difference between the reward group and punishment group; (2) Heart rates within the reward group were much higher than those in the punishment group and control group, and finger temperatures were much higher than those in the control group; however, skin conductance responses in the reward group weremuch lower than those in the punishment and control groups;(3) Compared with other stages, the variation of these physical signals was much lower at the feedback stage; (4) The three groups differed in heart rate, finger temperature, and finger pulse rate at all stages, but skin conductance responses did not show significant differences across the groups. The results reveal that behavioral arousal is not synchronized with physiological arousal during reward and punishment conditions. Both the reward and punishment conditions showed inhibition to the behavioral measures, but they showed significant differences in physical arousal.

Keywords reward      punishment      behavioral inhibition      stop signal task      automatic physiological responses     
Corresponding Authors: BAI Xuejun, E-mail:    
Issue Date: 26 January 2015
E-mail this article
E-mail Alert
Articles by authors
BAI Xuejun
Cite this article:   
GU Li,BAI Xuejun,WANG Qin. Impact of Reward/punishment Conditions on Behavioral Inhibition and Automatic Physiological Responses in the Stages[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2015.00039
URL:     OR
[1] LIU Yu; CHEN Hong; LI Shuhui; LUO Nian. Reducing unsuccessful restrained eaters’ unhealthy food choice: An internet-based inhibition control training[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2017, 49(2): 219-227.
[2] ZENG Hong; SU Dequan; JIANG Xing; CHEN Qi; YE Haosheng. Activations of Sensory-motor Brain Regions in Response to Different Types of Drug-associated Cues[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2015, 47(7): 890-902.
[3] CHEN Sijing; HE Quan; MA Jianhong. The Influence of Third-party Punishment on Cooperation: An Explanation of Social Norm Activation[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2015, 47(3): 389-405.
[4] MA Weina;ZHU Beibei. Emotional Empathy in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Evidence from Biofeedback Measurement and Eye Movements[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2014, 46(4): 528-539.
[5] XU Lei;WANG Lijun;ZHAO Yuanfang;TAN Jinfeng;CHEN Antao. Subliminal Reward Modulates the Tradeoff between Proactive and Reactive Cognitive Control[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2014, 46(4): 459-466.
[6] GU Li; BAI Xuejun; WANG Qin. Timeliness of Impact of Reward/punishment Stimulations on Behavioral Inhibition Ability and Automatic Physiological Responses[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2014, 46(10): 1476-1485.
[7] XU Sihua;FANG Zhuo;RAO Hengyi. Real or Hypothetical Monetary Rewards Modulates Risk Taking Behavior[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2013, 45(8): 874-886.
[8] WANG Zhenhong;LIU Ya;JIANG Changhao. The Effect of Low versus High Approach-Motivated Positive Affect on Cognitive Control[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2013, 45(5): 546-555.
[9] TAN Jinfeng;WU Shanshan;WANG Xiaoying;WANG Lijun;ZHAO Yuanfang;CHEN Antao. The Mechanism of Dissociation in Reward-Based Dual-task Processing: An ERP Study[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2013, 45(3): 285-297.
[10] WU Yan,LUO Yue-Jia. The Outcome Evaluation in the Altruistic Punishment: An ERP Study[J]. , 2011, 43(06): 661-673.
[11] CUI Rui-Si,LI Xin-Wang,WEI Shu-Guang,JIAO Jing-Jing,ZHU Xiao-Lin. The Interaction of Haloperidol and Imipramine on Cost-benefit Decision Making in Rats[J]. , 2010, 42(09): 946-954.
[12] LI Xiao-Jing,LI Hong,ZHANG Ting,LIAO YU. Characterization of Children’s Affective Decision Making: Sensitivity to the Frequency of Punishment and Reward[J]. , 2010, 42(03): 395-405.
[13] BAI Xue-Jun, ZHU Zhao-Hong, SHEN De-Li, LIU Nan. Autonomic Nervous Arousal and Behavioral Response of Punishment and Reward in Extroverts and Introverts[J]. , 2009, 41(06): 492-500.
[14] HOU Jing, CHEN Hui-Chang,CHEN Xinyin. The Development of Behavioral Inhibition in Chinese Children From 2 to 7 Years of Age[J]. , 2008, 40(06): 701-708.
[15] LIU Xiao-Yu,LIU Jun,YU Guang-Tao. Preemployment Beliefs, Organizational Inducement, and Psychological Contract Change: A Longitudinal Study[J]. , 2008, 40(01): 64-73.
Full text



Copyright © Acta Psychologica Sinica
Support by Beijing Magtech