Anterior cerebral asymmetry and the nature of emotion

Brain Cogn. 1992 Sep;20(1):125-51. doi: 10.1016/0278-2626(92)90065-t.


This article presents an overview of the author's recent electrophysiological studies of anterior cerebral asymmetries related to emotion and affective style. A theoretical account is provided of the role of the two hemispheres in emotional processing. This account assigns a major role in approach- and withdrawal-related behavior to the left and right frontal and anterior temporal regions of two hemispheres, respectively. Individual differences in approach- and withdrawal-related emotional reactivity and temperament are associated with stable differences in baseline measures of activation asymmetry in these anterior regions. Phasic state changes in emotion result in shifts in anterior activation asymmetry which are superimposed upon these stable baseline differences. Future directions for research in this area are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Child
  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Depressive Disorder / physiopathology
  • Electroencephalography
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Individuality
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Models, Neurological
  • Research Design