The influence of emotional state on learning from reward and punishment in borderline personality disorder

Katherine L. Dixon-Gordon, Matthew T. Tull, Leor M. Hackel, Kim L. Gratz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Despite preliminary evidence that individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD) demonstrate deficits in learning from corrective feedback, no studies have examined the influence of emotional state on these learning deficits in BPD. This laboratory study examined the influence of negative emotions on learning among participants with BPD (n = 17), compared with clinical (past-year mood/anxiety disorder; n = 20) and healthy (n = 23) controls. Participants completed a reinforcement learning task before and after a negative emotion induction. The learning task involved presenting pairs of stimuli with probabilistic feedback in the training phase, and subsequently assessing accuracy for choosing previously rewarded stimuli or avoiding previously punished stimuli. ANOVAs and ANCOVAs revealed no significant between-group differences in overall learning accuracy. However, there was an effect of group in the ANCOVA for postemotion induction high-conflict punishment learning accuracy, with the BPD group showing greater decrements in learning accuracy than controls following the negative emotion induction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)432-446
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Personality Disorders
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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