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Neuropsychoanalysis: An Interdisciplinary Journal for

Psychoanalysis and the Neurosciences
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The Affective Neuroscience Personality Scales:

Normative Data and Implications

Kenneth L. Davis Ph.D. , Jaak Panksepp Ph.D. & Larry Normansell Ph.D.

Pegasus International, Inc., Greensboro, N.C., U.S.A.

Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, U.S.A.

Muskingum College, New Concord, Ohio, U.S.A.

Published online: 09 Jan 2014.

To cite this article: Kenneth L. Davis Ph.D., Jaak Panksepp Ph.D. & Larry Normansell Ph.D. (2003) The Affective
Neuroscience Personality Scales: Normative Data and Implications, Neuropsychoanalysis: An Interdisciplinary Journal for
Psychoanalysis and the Neurosciences, 5:1, 57-69, DOI: 10.1080/15294145.2003.10773410
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Neuro-Psychoanalysis, 2003, 5 (1)


The Affective Neuroscience Personality Scales:

Normative Data and Implications

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Kenneth L. Davis, Jaak Panksepp, and Larry Normansell

Based on evidence for brain affective systems, parceled into six distinct groups (Panksepp, 1998a), it was hypothesized that
a great deal of personality variability would be related to strengths and weaknesses found in these six systems. If supported,
this hypothesis would provide further evidence for the physiological bases of personality. Personality scales, modeled after
the Spielberger State-Trait Personality Inventory (STPI), were constructed to estimate self-reported feedback concerning the
putative influences of these six neurally based networks, which are labeled PLAY, SEEK, CARE, FEAR, ANGER, and SADNESS
systems, along with a Spirituality scale and various filler questions. Subjects completed these Affective Neuroscience
Personality Scales (ANPS) as well as a Five-Factor Model (FFM) scale. Data revealed various strong relationship between the
APNS and the FFM scales. Implications for psychometric theory, the relationships between affect and personality, as well as
the physiological bases of personality are discussed.

One of the more urgent questions of human psychology is how to parse the primary affective states that
are subsumed by the temperamental variability that
constitutes human personality. A great deal of past
work on the topic has yielded tools that are based on
theoretical conceptions of the relevant underlying
processes (Edwards, 1954; Myers, 1962) as well as
those that aspire to simply tackle the problem in
radically positivistic ways, as in the currently popular Five-Factor Model (FFM: Goldberg, 1990).
Another common approach to testing has been to
achieve a profile that can help us estimate degrees
of psychological disturbances (Hathaway &
McKinley, 1967; Millon, 1994). It is generally assumed that the effectiveness of therapeutic practice,
both psychological and somatic, should be informed
by the structure of clients personalities. Indeed, in
the current era of biological psychiatry, it is often
suspected that the efficacy of certain psychotropic
agents may interact with pre-existing personality
strengths and weaknesses, leading to differential
efficacy of agents such as serotonin, norepinephrine,
and dopamine directed antidepressants (Cloninger,
1987; Cloninger, Svrakic, & Przybeck, 1993). Likewise, the potential for psychological disturbances
and aptitudes for particular skills, jobs, and lifestyles may be influenced by emotional strengths and

At present there appears to be some emerging

consensus that an understanding of the diversity of
normal human personality must be the foundation
upon which we build an understanding of personality disorders (Knutson & Heinz, 2003). However,
there is no agreement whether personality should be
studied without any theoretical preconceptions or
whether theoretical views of human nature are essential to identify the most important psychological
dimensions that need to be evaluated. Perhaps the
most common modern adjective-based approach,
the FFM, sometime referred to as the Big Five,
has yielded personality categories that are based on
the raw facts as opposed to preconceived theoretical
viewpoints (yielding temperaments that are typically called Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Emotional Stability, and Openness to
Experience) (Hofstee, Raad, & Goldberg, 1992).
Since this approach is not biased by any theoretical
preconceptions, it is generally regarded as a substantial step forward in personality assessment (for
a review of the FFM, see Digman, 1990; Hough &
Schneider, 1996).
In their seminal article on Big Five traits and
blends, Hofstee, Raad, and Goldberg (1992) described the lexical approach to personality as a
soft theory in which the researcher refrains from
a priori theorizing (p. 161). Goldberg and Saucier

Kenneth L. Davis, Ph.D.: Pegasus International, Inc., Greensboro, N.C., U.S.A.; Jaak Panksepp, Ph.D.: Bowling Green State University, Bowling
Green, Ohio, U.S.A.; Larry Normansell, Ph.D.: Muskingum College, New Concord, Ohio, U.S.A.
Correspondence: Dr. Jaak Panksepp, Department of Psychology, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH 43403, U.S.A. (email:

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(1995) have shared the view that the FFM represents phenotypic personality descriptors, although they acknowledge others (McCrae & Costa,
1996) who conceived of the FFM as representing
genotypic personality traits.
Cattell (1986) has hypothesized that source
traits had physiological roots, and he along with
others have demonstrated a strong genetic basis for
the FFM (Eysenck, 1990; Loehlin, 1992; Pedersen,
Plomin, McClearn, & Friberg, 1988; Viken, Rose,
Kaprio, & Kowkenvuo, 1994), which argues in
favor of a physiological basis of source traits. Some
have made general proposals for what these source
characteristics might befor example, Extraversion
being associated with approach (Tellegen, 1985) or
arousal (Eysenck & Eysenck, 1985) tendencies.
Other work also suggests that biological factors
may be more important than cultural ones in determining personality traits (Bouchard & Loehlin,
2001). Lucas, Diener, Suh, Shao, and Grob (2000)
completed an analysis of Extraversion using participants from 39 nations and concluded along with
Depue and Collins (1999) that internal sensitivity
to rewards were a basis for Extraversion and were
unaffected by culture, although the rewardingness
of social situations may be more influenced by
culture. Their concluding sentence was a call for
more understanding of why differences in pleasant
affect and sensitivity to rewards exist in the first
Some have used technologies such as positron
emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate how
brain activity is associated with sadness, happiness,
disgust, fear, and euphoria (see Canli et al., 2001).
These investigations supported the existence of selective neural mechanisms associated with Extraversion and Neuroticism (negatively framed FFM
Emotional Stability) and related their findings to
previous conceptualizations of brain reactivity to
emotional stimuli (e.g., Davidson, 1995; Eysenck
& Eysenck, 1985; Gray, 1987). Although brainimaging work provides suggestive evidence for
measured brain differences related to personality
dimensions, this work remains largely descriptive
and without a solid organic foundation.
In our estimation, optimal emotional personality
evaluation should be based on empirically based
viewpoints that attempt to carve personality along
the lines of emerging brain systems that help generate the relevant psychological attributes. Spielbergers State-Trait Personality Inventory (STPI:
Spielberger, 1975) could be taken as an early example of test construction based on psychologically
relevant brain systems.
There have been some attempts to achieve similar
ends with respect to well-studied neurochemical

Kenneth L. Davis, Jaak Panksepp, and Larry Normansell

systems (Cloninger, 1987; Cloninger, Svrakic, &

Przybeck, 1993), as well as certain functional systems (Depue & Collins, 1999; Gray, 1987). These
approaches represent coherent ways to proceed, although they are by no means generally accepted.
The former is based on the major amine pathways of
the brain and the latter on a rather limited set of
brain emotional operating systems such as those that
generate binary reactions that mediate either
behavioral activation or behavioral inhibition.
Our current attempt to view emotional temperamental variability according to basic emotion theory
provides an alternative way to proceed, and the
present scales were constructed to reflect activity in
subcortical brain emotional systems that help generate key components of affective experience in all
mammalian species. Thus, our intent was to use the
emerging knowledge from affective neuroscience
and the study of subcortical emotional systems to
guide the construction of a psychometric tool to
evaluate temperamental variability related to the
activity in such affective systems, which include
distinct substrates for seeking, anger, fear, maternaltype nurturance, separation-distress, and playfulness (see Panksepp, 1998a).
In sum, our guiding assumption was that a great
deal of personality variability that is especially important for understanding some of the foremost,
internally experienced psychological dimensions of
individuals should be related to the activity level of
specific emotional systems. A more comprehensive
multidimensional affective-trait evaluation tool
could have clear benefits in future psychiatric and
neuro-psychoanalytic research. Indeed, for many
human psychological research questions, it might be
desirable to characterize the emotional temperaments of participating individuals. For instance, the
success of many psychotherapeutic interventions
may depend on preexisting emotional dispositions.
Likewise, transference reactions during psychotherapy may exhibit characteristic trajectories in
individuals with different emotional styles. It is
possible that repressive patterns or neurotic
defenses are more likely in individuals with certain
temperamental tendencies than in others. Many
other possibilities could be envisioned, but to evaluate such possibilities, a straightforward psychometric tool is needed. In this work we followed the lead
of Spielberger (1975) whose STPI, which evaluated
the traits of curiosity, anger, and anxiety, provided a
simple questionnaire-based emotional-trait evaluation tool. However, neural substrates for additional
ingrained emotional processes of the mammalian
brain have been identified, and in the construction
of the present scale we also attempted to evaluate
tendencies to exhibit sadness, nurturance, and playfulness.

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The Affective Neuroscience Personality Scales

Accordingly, we constructed a tool that represented six basic affective tendencies that have
emerged from affective neuroscience research
(Panksepp, 1998a), including scales for the following urges/tendencies: PLAYFULNESS, SEEKING,
CARING, FEAR, ANGER, and SADNESS (capitalization is a convention established for labeling
neurologically based emotional primes; the system
formerly called PANIC has been modified to SADNESS to be more semantically straightforward).
Scales modeled after the STPI framework were
constructed to evaluate these six affective tendencies. We also added one higher human emotional
attribute that we deem important in future psychiatric research, namely Spirituality, which has been an
important factor in the treatment of alcoholism
(Kendler et al., 2003; Miller & Thoresen, 2003).
This paper summarizes our initial version of the
Affective Neuroscience Personality Scale (ANPS)
so that it can be freely used and further developed
by others. We provide norms for several populations
(undergraduate students and adult job applicants),
and we also attempt to contrast how these scales
relate to estimates of the Big Five personality
dimensions. We offer this as a work in progress, and
we make no claim that this is a comprehensive
representation of human personality. Yet, the ANPS
does focus on ancient mind/brain processes that
may serve as a foundation for many higher mental
attributes and abilities. It is a specific tool that we
hope will allow investigators to bridge neuroscience
and depth-psychological topics. We share it as a
first-order attempt to harvest relevant self-report
data concerning major affective tendencies that may
be important for understanding the emotional variability of the members of our species.
The limitations of any such tool arise from the
fact that the human brain/mind reflects a grand
evolutionary progression that remains to be conclusively charted. However, it is clear that there are
many homologies in brain emotional systems across
all mammalian species (MacLean, 1990; Panksepp,
1998a), and it seems likely that many species-typical cortico-cognitive developments have been built
upon more primitive subcortical systems for basic
emotions and motivations that we still share with
many other creatures. This overall conceptualization has an obvious resemblance to Freuds structural theory, in which higher brain abilities
reflecting ego and superego functions were built
upon more ancient instinctual tendencies of the id.
The evidence that various kinds of affective experience are critically dependent on subcortical systems is substantial (Damasio et al., 2000; Panksepp,
1998a, 2003). Although there certainly are welldefined affective systems associated with sex, hunger, thirst, and temperature regulation, those


systems are commonly deemed to be motivational

rather than emotional systems, and they appear to
be less specifically related to our traditional understanding of what constitutes human personality. For
that reason, those dimensions of affect were not
dealt with in this research. The ANPS is offered as a
tool to monitor what we believed to be defensible
core elements of emotional experience: PLAYFULNESS, SEEKING, CARING, FEAR, ANGER,
and SADNESS. A Spirituality scale was added for a
hypothesized higher-order affective human attribute. Norms are provided for these scales, and we
also determined the extent to which self-reports of
affective temperament as measured by the ANPS
scales were related to self-report measures of the
FFM. Relationships between the ANPS and FFM
would help identify the underlying source traits of
the FFM (cf. Cattell, 1986). Although there may be
other affective systems in the human brain (and
some other mammals) such as those for dominance,
embarrassment, guilt, greed, disgust, jealousy,
shame, and pride, the existing neurological evidence
was judged insufficient for inclusion of those factors
in this project. It is possible that many of those
feelings are derived largely through social learning,
and the manner in which the more ancient affective
neurodynamics of the core emotions influence the
psychodynamics that emerge from more recent areas
of the brain remains very unclear. The aim here was
to try to generate a tool that aspired to monitor the
influence of the more primal emotions in human
temperamental variability.

In devising the ANPS, six major emotions were
categorized. The basic positive emotions, which
may conjointly constitute a measure of general Positive Affect, included three factors:
1. PLAYFULNESS was conceptualized as having
fun vs. being serious, playing games with physical contact, humor, and laughter, and being generally happy and joyful.
2. SEEKING was defined as feeling curious, feeling like exploring, striving for solutions to problems and puzzles, positively anticipating new
experiences, and a sense of being able to accomplish almost anything.
3. CARING was defined as nurturing, being drawn
to young children and pets, feeling softhearted
toward animals and people in need, feeling empathy, liking to care for the sick, feeling affection
for and liking to care for others, as well as liking
to be needed by others.


The basic negativistic emotions, which may conjointly constitute a measure of general Negative
Affect, included three factors:
4. FEAR was defined as having feelings of anxiety,
feeling tense, worrying, struggling with decisions, ruminating about past decisions and statements, losing sleep, and not typically being

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5. ANGER was defined as feeling hotheaded, being

easily irritated and frustrated, experiencing frustration leading to anger, expressing anger verbally or physically, and remaining angry for long
6. SADNESS was conceptualized as feeling lonely,
crying frequently, thinking about loved ones and
past relationships, and feeling distress when not
with loved ones.
Finally Spirituality, which was added because
of our interest in the highest human emotions, was
defined as feeling connected to humanity and
creation as a whole, feeling a sense of oneness
with creation, striving for inner peace and harmony,
relying on spiritual principles, and searching for
meaning in life.
Items for all scales were written with the goal of
accessing personal feelings and behavior rather than
more cognitive social judgments. For example, I
am known as one who keeps work fun was preferred over It is important to keep work fun. An
effort was also made to minimize the repetitiveness
of items. Items were written, rewritten, and sometimes piloted until consensus among the authors
was reached. Each scale was limited to fourteen
items, consisting of seven positive and seven reversed-scored items, except for the Spirituality scale
which consisted of twelve balanced items. Our intention is eventually to reduce the scale to ten items
per category. Various filler items were interspersed
in the scale to provide for validity checks, as well as
questions of personal theoretical interest (e.g., I
sometimes feel chills or goosebumps when listening to music, which can easily be modified by
other investigators to look for interesting relationships to topics in which they are interested).
Figures 1A and 1B depict the back and front of
this single-page personality inventory. The ANPS
questions are arranged in fourteen blocks using
the following sequence: SEEK, FEAR, CARE,
ANGER, PLAY, SADNESS, and Spirituality (with
only twelve items), followed typically by a single
filler question. The items in the even blocks (Nos. 2,
4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 14) are reverse-scored. To help
orient the reader, the seven SEEK items on the front
of the form (Fig. 1A) are Nos. 1, 9, 17, 25, 33, 41, 49

Kenneth L. Davis, Jaak Panksepp, and Larry Normansell

and the seven on the back of the form (Fig. 1B) are
Nos. 57, 65, 73, 81, 89, 97, 105. The scoring for the
items alternates from normal to reverse seven
Because the end of the scale may seem confusing,
let us provide a bit more detailed explanation. Since
the Spirituality scale only has twelve items relative
to the other scales, which have fourteen items, Item
95 is the last Spirituality item, with Item 96 being a
filler item that is part of the faking scale. Then Items
97 through 102 are the thirteenth items for the six
ANS scales. Item 103 is the chills or goosebumps item and was included purely as a personal
theoretical interest item, and Item 104 is a social
desirability or faking item. Items 105 through
110 are the fourteenth items for the six ANS scales.
Again, the order of the ANS scales is always SEEK,
with Spirituality being the seventh in the sequence
(until all 12 items have appeared) and the eighth
item being the filler items (7 of which are unlikely
virtue items, which can be used as a indices of
deceptive reporting).
The FFM adjective scales used here were
modeled after Goldberg (Goldberg, 1992; Hofstee,
Raad, & Goldberg, 1992). In an effort to keep the
tests short, the FFM scales each consisted of 14
adjectives, although not all of the scales were exactly balanced between positive and negative items.
A confirmatory factor analysis of all 70 adjectives
using an unpublished sample of 190 students affirmed the FFM structure of the scales. Extracting
five orthogonal factors accounted for 43.1% of the
variance and all but 3 of the adjectives loaded
highest on their own scale.
Both the ANPS and the FFM tests were administered at two different colleges to students who were
taking psychology classes. A total of 214 students
completed the tests during class but did not do so as
part of a course requirement. However, only data
from 171 students (50 males and 121 females) who
answered all of the ANPS and FFM items were used
in the analysis. The mean age for the student sample
was 20.0 years (standard deviation = 3.5). A sample
of 598 job applicants also completed just the ANPS
scales as part of a broader assessment not reported
here. The mean age for the applicant population was
41.9 years (standard deviation = 10.3).

ANPS scales

Reliabilities for the ANPS scales were computed

as Cronbachs alpha and ranged from .65 to .86.
These were considered adequate and in the range



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Figure 1A. The front of the ANPS. The blocking of items and the scoring procedures are described in the text.

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Figure 1B.

The back of the ANPS. The blocking of items and the scoring procedures are described in the text.

The Affective Neuroscience Personality Scales


Table 1
Affective Neuroscience Personality Scales: Means by Gender
College students
Male (n = 50)

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Job applicants

Female (n = 121)

Male (n = 492)

Female (n = 106)

















observed in psychological tests, with the PLAYFULNESS and SEEKING scales below .70 and the
FEAR, ANGER, and Spirituality scales above .80.
Table 1 lists data means by gender for the student
sample. Gender differences were examined using ttests. Except for the CARING scale, where females
scored about one standard deviation higher than
males (t = 5.23, p < .001), gender differences were
generally modest. There was a small but statistically
significant differences between males and females
on the SADNESS scale (t = 2.54, p < .05), with
females being higher than males, and a marginal
differences on the SEEKING scale (t = 1.95, p < .1),
with males being slightly higher. Females also
scored higher on the Spirituality scale (t = 2.8, p <
.01). However, the largest differences were on the
CARING scale. Table 1 also provides normative
data on the applicant population. Means for the
three positive ANPS scales were very similar to the
college-student population. However, means for the
three negative ANPS scales were quite different,
with the applicants scoring noticeably lower. These
lower means probably indicate an unwillingness of

job applicants to endorse items suggesting strong

negative affect. Applicant females did score significantly higher than applicant males on the CARE
scale (t = 3.407, p < .001). Females also scored
slightly higher on the SADNESS scale (t = 2.142, p
< .05). Gender differences did not emerge on the
SEEK scale, although males did score higher than
females on the ANGER scale (t = 2.152, p < . 05).
Intercorrelations of the ANPS scales are reported
in Table 2. For the positive ANPS scales, PLAYFULNESS was significantly related to SEEKING
and CARING. However, the CARING scale was not
related to the SEEKING scale but did yield loworder correlations with the negative FEAR and
SADNESS scales. Otherwise, all the negative
ANPS scales correlated highly with each other,
suggesting how the coherent general concept of
negative affect may emerge as a superordinate
personality factor. The Spirituality scale was only
significantly related in a positive manner to the
CARING and SEEKING scales. The applicant sample generally confirmed the correlations for the
student sample.

Table 2
Intercorrelations of the Affective Neuroscience Personality Scales










*p < .05, two-tailed; **p < .01, two-tailed; ***p < .001, two-tailed.
Student sample: n = 171 (50 males, 121 females).



SADNESS Spirituality



Kenneth L. Davis, Jaak Panksepp, and Larry Normansell

Table 3
Five Factor Model Scale: Gender Differences

Emotional Stability
Openness to Experience










Student sample: n = 171 (50 males, 121 females).

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FFM scales

Reliabilities for the FFM scales were measured

using Cronbachs alpha and ranged from .84 to .88.
That all of the FFM scale reliabilities were at .84 or
higher was attributed to using FFM adjective placements as previously defined by Goldberg
(Goldberg, 1992; Hofstee, Raad, & Goldberg,
1992). Gender differences on the FFM scales are
reported in Table 3. Although effect sizes are generally small, t-tests showed that there were statistically significant differences between males and
females on Agreeableness, with females scoring
higher than males (t = 3.64, p < .001), and on
Openness to Experience, with males scoring higher
(t = 2.74, p < .01).
Correlations between the FFM scales are presented in Table 4. The predominance of positive
correlations between scales is probably related to a
social bias associated with the positive poles of each
of the FFM scales.

ANPS scale correlations with FFM

As Table 5 shows, each of the ANPS scales

correlated highly and significantly with at least one

of the FFM scales. Correlations of .45 or higher

(accounting for at least 20% of the variance) are in
bold. Since the male sample is small, only overall
data are reported. PLAY was most strongly associated with Extraversion (r = .46, p < .001). SEEKING
was most strongly associated with Openness to Experience (r = .47, p < .001). CARING was most
strongly associated with Agreeableness (r = .50, p <
.001). FEAR (r = .75, p < .001), ANGER (r = .65,
p < .001), and SADNESS (r = .68, p < .001) were
all most strongly associated with low Emotional
Stability. However, ANGER was also related highly
to low Agreeableness (r = .48, p < .001). The FFM
Conscientiousness scale was the only scale that did
not yield a high correlation coefficient with an
ANPS scale. There were lower but statistically significant correlations for Conscientiousness with
FEAR (.24), ANGER (.30), and SADNESS
(.30). These negative correlations suggest a possible role for Conscientiousness in suppressing negative affect. The Spirituality scale did not yield a high
correlation with a FFM scale and was dropped from
the subsequent analysis of the model. The Spirituality scales strongest correlation with a FFM scale
was with Agreeableness (r = .26, p < .001).
Exploratory factor analysis confirmed the relationships between the ANPS and FFM scales that
were observed in the correlation matrix in Table 5.
Factor analysis uses correlational data to identify
latent, underlying, statistically determined structures. By convention, the number of factors or components should be limited to the number of
eigenvalues greater than 1. Whereas a factor loading
of 1.0 would represent unity between a variable and
a latent component, by convention factor loadings
of .40 or higher are considered worthy of consideration. A negative loading indicates the association of
a low score on that variable with the factor. Only
four eigenvalues greater than 1 emerged. When five
factors were extracted, the FFM Conscientiousness
scale formed a fifth factor by itself. When four
factors were extracted, Conscientiousness had the

Table 4
Intercorrelations of Five Factor Model Scales
Emotional Stability
Openness to Experience




*p < .05, two-tailed; **p < .01, two-tailed; ***p < .001, two-tailed.
Student sample: n = 171 (50 males, 121 females).





Openness to

The Affective Neuroscience Personality Scales


Table 5
ANPS and Spirituality Scales Correlated with Five Factor Model Personality Scales









Openness to

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* p < .05, two-tailed; ** p < .01, two-tailed; *** p < .001, two-tailed.
Student sample: n = 171 (50 males, 121 females).

lowest communality of .51, with all other communalities ranging from .63 to .81. Therefore, the
Conscientiousness scale was removed from the factor analysis, and four latent factors were extracted
using Principle Component Analysis and a Varimax
rotation (SPSS) (see Table 6). With the four-factor
solution without Conscientiousness, communalities
ranged from .71 to .83. All factor loadings in Table
6 that are greater than .50 are shown in bold.
A factor analysis of just the ANPS scales yielded
two eigenvalues greater than 1. The two-factor rotation resulted in factors for negative affect and positive affect. FEAR, SADNESS, and ANGER were in
the first component, with factor loadings ranging
from .74 to .89. PLAY, CARE, and SEEK were in
the second component, with similar factor loading
except for the SEEK scale which had a loading of

.55. All other factor loadings were less than .20.

These two factors basically replicate Watson, Clark,
and Tellegens PA and NA factors (1984, 1988) as
well as Grays (1970) hypothesized Behavioral Inhibition and Behavioral Approach Systems.

The ANPS scale constitutes our first-pass attempt to
develop an emotional personality scale that is based
on a modern reading of the neuroscience evidence
concerning the basic emotional systems in the mammalian brain (Panksepp, 1998a). Each of the six
ANPS scales yielded a significant correlation with
at least one FFM scale, supporting the hypothesized
relationship between personal affective and the

Table 6
Rotated Component Matrix
Low Emotional
Emotional Stability
Openness to Experience




Openness to

Four eigenvalues > 1. Four rotated factors accounted for 77.6% of the variance. Student sample: n = 171.
Extraction method: Principal Component Analysis; rotation method: Varimax with Kaiser normalization.
Rotation converged in six iterations.

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now-classic personality dimensions revealed by an

analysis of self-referential adjectival descriptors.
The most robust associations were Extraversion
with PLAY; Agreeableness with CARE and inversely with ANGER; Openness to Experience with
SEEK; Emotional Stability inversely with all three
negative emotions; and Conscientiousness more
weakly with the three negative emotions.
These data support the conclusion that each of
the six affective systems presented here (Panksepp,
1998a) is closely related to at least one of the Big
Five personality factors. We further suggest that
these six affective systems may form the foundation
for substantial parts of the adult five-factor personality structure. We hypothesize that the root of
Extraversion, as defined in the FFM, may be the
PLAY system, which first emerges as infant smiling, laughter, and sensitivity to tickling, then later
appears in happy childhood games and social interaction and is elaborated in adult personalities as
they engage in joke telling, ribbing, and general
social fun.
We would further suggest that the expression of
extraverted behavior is related to the acquisition of
the social skills normally learned during childhood
play experiences. For example, a persistent low urge
to play in childhood could limit the opportunities to
learn play skills. In turn, inadequate play skills
would increase the probability of subsequent negative social experiences including rejection, decrease
opportunities to experience the positive feelings
associated with social fun, further tend to reduce
levels of social interaction, result in unsuccessful
social experiences with peers, and might even
render a person less sensitive to positive social
rewards. Ironically, reduced play may eventually
lead into attention-deficit-hyperactivity-type disorders (ADHD), an idea that has been extensively
explored elsewhere (Panksepp, 1998b; Panksepp et
al., 2002; Panksepp, Burgdorf, Turner, & Gordon,
2003). Furthermore, social rejection (e.g., social
isolation in school) could result in the activation of
SADNESS and ANGER systems and the subsequent development of social anxieties, introverted
tendencies, and social defiance.
Similarly, the root of Agreeableness may be the
CARE system, epitomized in warm and loving maternal care-giving. Animal data has indicated that
the quality of maternal care, as monitored by amount
of ano-genital licking, can have lifelong consequences for offspring, yielding transgenerational
benefits where caring attitudes are passed on to the
next generation via nongenetic means (Meaney,
2001). In our populations, females scored about one
standard deviation higher on the ANPS CARE scale
than males, supporting the hypothesized female origins of the personality elaborations of the CARE

Kenneth L. Davis, Jaak Panksepp, and Larry Normansell

system. However, the data also showed substantial

overlap between the genders on the CARE scale and
confirmed the capacity for males to experience
CARE feelings, with 8 of the 51 males scoring
higher than the female mean. That 17 of the 121
females scored below the male mean on the CARE
scale showed that the female phenotype does not
guarantee strong CARE feelings. The extent to
which this temperamental characteristic is modulated by genetic/physiological and environmental
factors is open to further analysis. The degree to
which this personality trait fluctuates as a function
of experience and hormonal tides (Fleming, ODay,
& Kramer, 1999) should be an important avenue of
future investigation.
The basis for Openness to Experience may be the
SEEK system, which is associated with curiosity,
anticipation, and, ultimately perhaps, a sense of
being able to undertake and accomplish important
goals. Small but statistically significant gender differences on the SEEK scale in the student sample
suggest stronger tendencies in young males to explore and to perhaps experience stronger feelings of
anticipation in general. Using unpublished data, a
fourteen-item version of Cacioppos Need for Cognition scale measuring a need to explain how things
work and the love of intellectual challenges
(Cacioppo, Petty, Feinstein, & Jarvis, 1996) was
compared to the SEEK scale (r = .49, n = 598, p <
.001). The strong positive relationship further suggests an involvement of the SEEK system in an
affinity for problem solving.
The negative emotions present a more complex
picture. Emotional Stability was strongly related to
FEAR systems, which in its milder manifestations
emerges as general anxiety, worrying, and rumination. However, the SADNESS system, along with
its separation distress, was also primarily associated
with the FFM Emotional Stability factor. In an
unsuccessful attempt to statistically disassociate the
SADNESS scale from the FEAR scale, a factor
analysis of all FFM and ANPS scales was computed
extracting six factors even though there were only
four eigenvalues greater than 1. The SADNESS
scale continued to exhibit a very high factor loading
(.84) on Emotional Stability, with no significant
loading on other components.
It appears as though humans may not differentiate well between the strong feelings associated
with the FEAR and SADNESS systems since these
intercorrelate so highly (.73), and both correlate
highly with emotional instability in the Big Five.
Thus, these two distinct feelings seem to be treated
the same way. This conclusion would be supported
by Kleins work (1996), which showed that while
tricyclic antidepressants reduced the actual incidence of patient panic attacks, these same patients

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The Affective Neuroscience Personality Scales

often reported no beneficial effect, apparently because the drug had not also reduced the anticipatory
anxiety associated with the attacks (further discussed in Panksepp, 1998a, p. 275). Alternatively,
perhaps these two affects are very similar at a neurological level. In short, people either have a tendency
to conflate such negative emotions, or some type of
more global negative-emotion category actually has
some kind of primacy in the way people categorize
their experiences.
The ANGER scale correlated negatively on
the FFM Emotional Stability factor. However, the
ANGER scale correlated negatively on the Agreeableness scale as well, statistically combining the
element of low Emotional Stability with low Agreeableness. Hofstee, Raad, and Goldberg (1992) also
showed that the adjective angry loaded negatively
on both the Agreeableness and Emotional Stability
factors and, as such, could be considered a blend
of these two Big Five factors. In this respect, the
ANPS ANGER scale seemed to correspond closely
with other personality scales that also show a low
Agreeableness and low Emotional Stability pattern,
such as the Hostility facet from the NEO scale
(Costa & McCrae, 1992).
By contrast, the ANPS ANGER and CARE
scales do not correlate with each other (Table 2, r =
.036); thus, the self-report data suggest that the two
affective systems are independent. In fact, clinical
reports suggest that people often simultaneously
experience caring and angry feelings. Thus, we hypothesize that the FFM Agreeableness scale confounds the CARE and ANGER systems. It would
seem that human language has descriptively generated a higher-order construct that places CARE
feelings on the positive pole and ANGER feelings
on the negative pole.
About half a century ago, Osgood (1952) offered
a two- or three-dimensional personality structure.
The primary dimensions have now repeatedly been
shown to be positive and negative hedonic tone, one
of the most reliable results in all of psychology.
Obviously this amazingly consistent findinga
seemingly universal phenomenonhas to be based
on a solid psychobiological infrastructure. The
question is whether there are unique positive and
negative affect systems in the brain, or whether
those are concepts that are derivative of more basic
processes. Our view is that the latter is much more
likely, even though it is possible that the higherorder positive and negative affect categories are
more than mere conceptual kinds. Although this
important issue cannot be resolved from the present
data set, obviously when one is attempting to psychologically analyze very primitive affective systems of the mammalian brain, as in the ANPS
approach, we are bound to get many fuzzy signals


concerning the primal emotional tendencies, because such issues are refracted through many unique
cortico-cognitive and cultural lenses.
Overall, we think that our data suggest that the
FFM represents a human language reconfiguration
of underlying primary mammalian affective systems
into useful phenotypic descriptive systems. This is
in contrast to the view (McCrae & Costa, 1996) that
the FFM represents genotypic personality traits,
each of which is made up of underlying facets. We
would argue, for example, that viewing the expression of the brain ANGER system as a facet of
Neuroticism or a blend of low Agreeableness and
low Emotional Stability clouds our understanding of
the ANGER system and misrepresents a powerful
primary affective system. Perhaps by representing
ANGER as a primary element of the human personality, we can better focus on how ANGER is related
to human destructive behavior, from child abuse to
On a broader scale, our data suggest that the FFM
Emotional Stability factor may confound all three
primary negative emotions: FEAR, SADNESS, and
ANGER. Thus, we hypothesize that different humans do not differentiate well among (1) the gradations of feelings of the FEAR system such as
anxiety and worry, (2) the feelings of the SADNESS
system such as distress and loneliness, and (3) the
feelings of the ANGER system such as irritation and
frustration. It would seem that human language expression descriptively generates a higher-order construct that bundles negative affective experience
into a conceptual whole, helping explain the emergence of the global concept of negative affect.
Carver, Sutton, and Scheier (2000) have suggested that approaching positive goals versus avoiding threats are two salient dimensions of
personality. It is further suggested that approach
tendencies and Positive Affect are associated with
Extraversion, while avoidance tendencies and
Negative Affect are associated with Neuroticism or
the negative pole of Emotional Stability. Our theory
suggests that approach tendencies may also be
aligned with the SEEK system, which is most
closely associated in the FFM with Openness to
Experience. Although there may be a summation
effect for positive feelings into overall Positive Affect, Carvers approach may confound the PLAY
and SEEK systems and omit the contribution of the
CARE system to overall Positive Affect. A similar
summation of negative feelings seems to occur with
Negative Affect, including the FEAR, SADNESS,
and ANGER systems.
Carver, Sutton, and Scheier (2000) hypothesize
that depression is the result of low Positive Affect.
We would argue this is too general a conclusion.
Even if lower PLAY or Extraversion is related to

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depression, pharmacological successes with depression might point to a role for the SADNESS system
in the etiology of depression as well. Given that
SADNESS loaded strongly on second-order Negative Affect, positive and negative affective elements
may be involved in the onset of depression. Also, as
it is widely assumed that there are distinct forms of
depression, the present scale may allow different
types to be differentiated by the underlying affective
system that may be most involved.
We did not focus on the frequency of experiencing emotions. Schimmack and colleagues
(Schimmack, Oishi, Diener, & Suh, 2000) have
shown that Extraversion may represent the disposition to experience pleasant emotions more frequently as well as more intensely. They have argued
that some individuals are more prone to have
emotional experiences and experience life more
emotionally than others. It may be that both the
frequency and the intensity of emotions need to be
examined further in an affective neuroscience context. Also, age and gender differences need to be
more fully explored. Surely much can be learned
from tracking developmentally such discrete affective systems and looking for additional gender differences as well as fluctuations of emotional traits in
psychiatric populations.
On a cautionary note, one would be well advised
to avoid using these scales with populations that are
not motivated to provide accurate feedback, as it is
not clear to what extent (1) dishonest responding
and (2) unwillingness to admit undesirable emotional experiences (Fossum & Barrett, 2000) will
distort the results. In our own data, we have seen
populations that are motivated to fake (i.e., job
applicants) produce rather different norms on the
scales measuring negative affect.
In sum, it is our hope that affective neuroscience
thinking can help break reasoning circularities and
the descriptive limitations of present conceptions of
human personality such as have been enshrined in
the FFM. For example, individuals who experience
more pleasant social emotions and who are therefore described as Extraverts can be further investigated by identifying specific affective systems,
which can be varied and observed at the anatomical,
pharmacological, and physiological levels. In addition, an ANPS approach to personality studies may
further encourage research into objective markers
such as facial expressions for affective systems as
well as genetic research to further support the biological bases for the links between affective systems
and personality traits. Finally, for many kinds of
future depth-psychological research, it might be
useful and important to characterize the emotional
profiles of the people being studied and analyzed.
We offer this scale freely for such academic and

Kenneth L. Davis, Jaak Panksepp, and Larry Normansell

other research purposes, but we would request anyone who hopes to use this work for commercial
purposes to obtain prior permission, from the senior
author, to use this scale.


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