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Research Article

In Search for a Social-Behavioral Approach-Avoidance Dimension Associated with Evaluative Trait Meanings

Author:

Guido Peeters

L.E.S.P., Tiensestraat, 102, B-3000 Leuven, BE
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Abstract

Participants were presented with hypothetical target persons who had produced personality descriptions of an other person. The descriptions varied along two evaluative trait dimensions: likability-related other-profitability (OP) and power related self-profitability (SP). The participants rated the targets’ willingness to engage in 12 social behaviors towards the described other. Consistent with the current view associating evaluation with approach-avoidance tendencies, intercorrelations between ratings were largely accounted for by one factor which could he interpreted as an approach-avoidance dimension marked by the opposites “wanting as friend” and “avoiding”. Aggressive acts loaded less negatively than avoidance on the approach-avoidance factor, which may be a statistical artifact, but is also consistent with the idea that aggression has affinities with both approach and avoidance. Otherwise than predicted on the basis of particular evaluative impression formation studies, the association of evaluation with approach-avoidance tendencies was not limited to the likability-related dimension but generalized, although to a lesser extent, to the power-related dimension as well. Practical applications regarding the measurement of social approach-avoidance tendencies and theoretical implications regarding one-dimensional versus two-dimensional models of evaluative meaning are discussed.

How to Cite: Peeters, G., 2001. In Search for a Social-Behavioral Approach-Avoidance Dimension Associated with Evaluative Trait Meanings. Psychologica Belgica, 41(4), pp.187–203. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/pb.980
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Published on 01 Jan 2001.
Peer Reviewed

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