Dictionary of Arguments

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Author Item Summary Meta data
Corr I 363
Fear/Anxiety/Emotions/Animal Studies/Blanchard/Blanchard: Over an extensive period of research, the Blanchards examined the behavioural effects of classes of psychiatric drugs on defensive behaviours of rodents in realistic experimental situations, known as ‘ethoexperimental analysis’: ‘etho’ to reflect the natural behaviours shown by rodents in real-like environments (e.g., freezing in the face of threat), and ‘experimental’ to reflect the control over the features of this reality-like environment. See Robert and Caroline Blanchard (Blanchard and Blanchard 1988(1), 1990(2); Blanchard, Griebel, Henrie and Blanchard 1997(3)).
Careful analysis of the behavioural effects on rodents of clinically effective psychiatric drugs (e.g., anxiolytics) revealed a set of findings that pointed to the existence of two broad classes of defensive behaviour (avoidance of threat and cautious approach to threat) – or, in the Blanchards’ view, immediate vs. potential threat.
A. One class of behaviours was elicited by the immediate presence of a predator (e.g., a cat) – this class could clearly be attributed to a state of fear. The behaviours were observed to be
Corr I 364
highly sensitive to panicolytic (i.e., panic-reducing) drugs, but not so much to drugs that are specifically anxiolytic (i.e., anxiety-reducing).
B. A quite distinct class of behaviours (including ‘risk assessment’) was elicited by the potential presence of a predator – this class of behaviours was highly sensitive to anxiolytic drugs. Both functionally and pharmacologically, this class was distinct from the behaviours attributed to fear and could be attributed to a state of anxiety. As this distinction shows, in some important functional respects, fear and anxiety can reflect opposing motivations (avoiding vs. entering dangerous situations).


1. Blanchard, D. C. and Blanchard, R. J. 1988. Ethoexperimental approaches to the biology of emotion, Annual Review of Psychology 39: 43–68
2. Blanchard, R. J. and Blanchard, D. C. 1990. An ethoexperimental analysis of defense, fear and anxiety, in N. McNaughton and G. Andrews (eds.), Anxiety, pp. 12–133. Dunedin: Otago University Press
3. Blanchard, R. J., Griebel, G., Henrie, J. A. and Blanchard, D. C. 1997. Differentiation of anxiolytic and panicolytic drugs by effects on rat and mouse defense test batteries, Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 21:783-9



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.
Blanchard, D. Caroline
Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2019-05-21
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