Behavioral Activation and Behavioral Inhibition Scales (BAI)

The BIS/BAS Scales of the BAI (not to be confused with the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI)) assess two general motivational systems that underlie behavior and affect: a behavioral inhibition system(BIS) and a behavioral activation system (BAS). The BIS/BAS scales consist of 20 items that participants rate on a 4-point scale. The measure yields four scale scores, one BIS score and three BAS scores.


The BAI consists of 20 items that are rated on a 4-point Likert scale as follows:

Strongly Disagree Disagree Agree Strongly Agree
1 2 3 4


The BAI yields 4 primary scales. Description of the scales and item loadings are listed below. Scale scores are calculated as the sum of respective items. Items 1 and 18 are reverse scored.

BIS or Punishment Sensitivity Scale This scale includes all items referencing reactions to the anticipation of punishment. 1, 6, 10, 13, 15, 18, 20
BAS Reward Responsiveness This scale has items that focus on positive responses to the occurrence or anticipation of reward. 3, 5, 11, 14, 19
BAS Drive This scale is made up of items pertaining to the persistent pursuit of desired goals. 2, 7, 9, 17
BAS Fun Seeking This scale has items reflecting both a desire for new rewards and a willingness to approach a potentially rewarding event on the spur of the moment. 4, 8, 12, 16



SPSS Scoring Syntax file

R Scoring Syntax file


Carver, C. & White, T. (1994). Behavioral Inhibition, Behavioral Activation, and affective response to impending reward and punishment: The BIS/BAS Scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67(2), 319-333.