Anger and frontal brain activity: EEG asymmetry consistent with approach motivation despite negative affective valence

Eddie Harmon-Jones, John J.B. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

479 Scopus citations

Abstract

The anterior regions of the left and right cerebral hemispheres have been posited to be specialized for expression and experience of approach and withdrawal processes, respectively. Much of the evidence supporting this hypothesis has been obtained by use of the anterior asymmetry in electroencephalographic alpha activity. In most of this research, however, motivational direction has been confounded with affective valence such that, for instance, approach motivation relates positively with positive affect. In the present research, we tested the hypothesis that dispositional anger, an approach-related motivational tendency with negative valence, would be associated with greater left- than right-anterior activity. Results supported the hypothesis, suggesting that the anterior asymmetry varies as a function of motivational direction rather than affective valence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1310-1316
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Volume74
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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