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. 2008 Apr;8(2):232-49.
doi: 10.1037/1528-3542.8.2.232.

Is Running Away Right? The Behavioral Activation-Behavioral Inhibition Model of Anterior Asymmetry

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Is Running Away Right? The Behavioral Activation-Behavioral Inhibition Model of Anterior Asymmetry

Jan Wacker et al. Emotion. .

Abstract

The measurement of anterior electroencephalograph (EEG) asymmetries has become an important standard paradigm for the investigation of affective states and traits. Findings in this area are typically interpreted within the motivational direction model, which suggests a lateralization of approach and withdrawal motivational systems to the left and right anterior region, respectively. However, efforts to compare this widely adopted model with an alternative account-which relates the left anterior region to behavioral activation independent of the direction of behavior (approach or withdrawal) and the right anterior region to goal conflict-induced behavioral inhibition-are rare and inconclusive. Therefore, the authors measured the EEG in a sample of 93 young men during emotional imagery designed to provide a critical test between the 2 models. The results (e.g., a correlation between left anterior activation and withdrawal motivation) favor the alternative model on the basis of the concepts of behavioral activation and behavioral inhibition. In addition, the present study also supports an association of right parietal activation with physiological arousal and the conceptualization of parietal EEG asymmetry as a mediator of emotion-related physiological arousal.

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