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Social NeuroscienceToward Understanding the Underpinnings of the Social Mind$
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Alexander Todorov, Susan Fiske, and Deborah Prentice

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195316872

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195316872.001.0001

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Social Neuroscience of Asymmetrical Frontal Cortical Activity

Social Neuroscience of Asymmetrical Frontal Cortical Activity

Considering Anger and Approach Motivation

(p.173) Chapter 12 Social Neuroscience of Asymmetrical Frontal Cortical Activity
Social Neuroscience

Eddie Harmon-Jones

Cindy Harmon-Jones

Oxford University Press

This chapter reviews research that establishes the importance of the left prefrontal cortex (PFC) in approach motivation independent of affective valence. Research on anger and asymmetrical frontal cortical activity, when considered in whole, strongly suggests that the left PFC region is involved in more than inhibition of negative affect. That is, relative left frontal activation has been associated with self-reported state anger and behavioral aggression and approach-motivated behavior. Individuals with proneness toward mania and individuals higher in trait anger show even greater relative left frontal activation in response to angering events. Moreover, manipulated increases in left frontal activation cause approach-related angry attentional and memory responses. Even at resting baseline, individuals who are higher in trait anger show greater relative left frontal activity, and this relationship also occurs in adolescents who are in psychiatric in-patient units for impulse control disorders. It would be illogical to suggest that all of these individuals are inhibiting anger more than individuals without high levels of state anger, trait anger, approach behavior, aggression, or mania.

Keywords:   asymmetrical frontal cortical activity, anger, mania, prefrontal cortex, PFC region, aggression

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