BIS/BAS sensitivity and the P300 event-related brain potential

I. Nijs*, I. Franken, F.T.Y. Smulders

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Both a reduced amplitude of the P300 event-related potential component and a highly impulsive personality are known to be strong predictive markers for substance abuse and related psychiatric disorders. Because of this common link to externalizing psychopathology, a significant negative association between the P300 amplitude and personality measures related to behavioral disinhibition is expected. The present study investigated correlations between the visual P300 amplitude and the personality dimensions of Behavioral Approach System (BAS) sensitivity and Behavioral Inhibition System (BIS) sensitivity among healthy subjects (N = 44; mean age = 24 +/- 4.93 years). To measure BIS and BAS sensitivity the BIS/BAS scales were used. Significant positive correlations were found between BAS sensitivity and P300 amplitude at both anterior and posterior scalp locations above the right hemisphere. There were no significant correlations between P300 amplitude and BIS sensitivity. Results are discussed in light of the rather inconsistent findings from previous studies investigating P300 amplitude and impulsivity-related measures. It is concluded that a P300 amplitude reduction may be regarded as a general, nonspecific marker for psychopathology and psychopathology-prone personality functioning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-90
JournalJournal of Psychophysiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007


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