On the Nature of Automatically Triggered Approach–Avoidance Behavior

Emotion Review 5 (3):280-284 (2013)
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Theory suggests that stimulus evaluations automatically evoke approach–avoidance behavior. However, the extent to which approach–avoidance behavior is triggered automatically is not yet clear. Furthermore, the nature of automatically triggered approach–avoidance behavior is controversial. We review research on two views on the type of approach–avoidance behavior that is triggered automatically (arm flexion/extension, distance change). Present evidence supports the distance-change view and corroborates the notion of an automatic pathway from evaluation to distance-change behavior. We discuss underlying mechanisms (direct stimulus–response links, outcome anticipations, goals) as well as implications regarding the flexibility of the evaluation–behavior link



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