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Hans Jürgen Eysenck on Fear - Dictionary of Arguments

Corr I 355
Fear/emotion/Eysenck/CorrVsEysenck(1): where does fear come from? More technically, where is fear generated in the brain, and how is this fear-system related to conditioning? Eysenck seemed just to assume that emotion arose spontaneously; but this simply will not do. In addition, if there is a fear generating system, then maybe that is where we should look for the genesis of clinical neurosis. >Conditioning/Eysenck.
Another clue to the potential importance of an innate fear system was the debate between Eysenck’s and Spence’s laboratories where, in the latter, it was found that conditioning was related to anxiety not (low) Extraversion. This debate was finally resolved by the realization that it is anxiety related to conditioning in laboratories that is more threatening (as in the case of Spence’s; Spence 1964)(2).
A greater problem: Emotion was never satisfactorily explained in Eysenck’s theory: it was seen, at varying times, as a cause (e.g., in Spence’s conditioning studies), as an outcome (e.g., in neurosis), and as a regulatory set point mechanism (e.g., in arousal and hedonic tone relations). In Eysenck’s theory, it remained something of an unruly, even delinquent, construct. >Conditioning/Eysenck, >Conditioning/Gray.


1. Corr, P. J. 2008a. Reinforcement sensitivity theory (RST): Introduction, in P. J. Corr (ed). The reinforcement sensitivity theory of personality, pp. 1–43. Cambridge University Press
2. Spence, K. W. 1964. Anxiety (drive) level and performance in eyelid conditioning, Psychological Bulletin 61: 129–39



Philip J. Corr, „ The Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory of Personality“, in: Corr, Ph. J. & Matthews, G. (eds.) 2009. The Cambridge handbook of Personality Psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Eysenck, Hans Jürgen
Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009

Corr II
Philip J. Corr (Ed.)
Personality and Individual Differences - Revisiting the classical studies Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne 2018


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