Conceptual and empirical approaches to the study of the role of asymmetric frontal cortical activity in emotional processes are reviewed. Although early research suggested that greater left than right frontal cortical activity was associated with positive affect, more recent research, primarily on anger, suggests that greater left than right frontal cortical activity is associated with approach motivation, which can be positive (e.g., enthusiasm) or negative in valence (e.g., anger). In addition to reviewing this research on anger, research on guilt, bipolar disorder, and various types of positive affect is reviewed with relation to their association with asymmetric frontal cortical activity. The reviewed research not only contributes to a more complete understanding of the emotive functions of asymmetric frontal cortical activity, but it also points to the importance of considering motivational direction as separate from affective valence in psychological models of emotional space.
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