Evidence suggests that variation in each dimension is strongly correlated with activity in a specific central monoaminergic pathway: novelty seeking with low basal dopaminergic activity, harm avoidance with high serotonergic activity, and reward dependence with low basal noradrenergic activity. These neurobiological dimensions interact to give rise to integrated patterns of differential responses to punishment, reward, and novelty.
The combination of high novelty seeking, high reward dependence, and low harm avoidance histrionic personality or the combination of high harm avoidance, low reward dependence, and low novelty seeking obsessional personality are each associated with information-processing patterns that lead to unreliable discrimination of safe and dangerous situations and hence to chronic anxiety. In individuals with high novelty seeking, chronic anxiety is characterized by global uneasiness or alarm without specific premonitory cues, frequent bodily pains due to low pain and sensation thresholds, low sedation threshold, and slow fatigability.
In contrast, in individuals with high harm avoidance, chronic anxiety is characterized by frequent anticipatory worries based on specific cues, high pain and sedation thresholds, and easy fatigability.
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A unified biosocial theory of personality and its role in the development of anxiety states.
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Theories of Personality
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