The effect of manipulated sympathy and anger on left and right frontal cortical activity

Emotion. 2004 Mar;4(1):95-101. doi: 10.1037/1528-3542.4.1.95.


The present research extended past research demonstrating that approach-motivated anger is associated with greater left than right frontal cortical activity. Because past research had examined difference scores between left and right frontal activity, it was unable to test whether approach-motivated anger increased left activity, decreased right activity, or both. In addition, the present research examined a potential moderator of the effect of insult on left frontal activity. That is, it tested whether sympathy for an insulting person would reduce the left frontal activity that occurs following being insulted. Results indicated that left frontal activity was increased and right frontal activity was decreased by the insult. Moreover, these effects were inhibited when high levels of sympathy were first aroused.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anger*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Empathy*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male