Jealousy increased by induced relative left frontal cortical activity

Emotion. 2015 Oct;15(5):550-5. doi: 10.1037/emo0000068. Epub 2015 Apr 6.


Asymmetric frontal cortical activity may be one key to the process linking social exclusion to jealous feelings. The current research examined the causal role of asymmetric frontal brain activity in modulating jealousy in response to social exclusion. Transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS) over the frontal cortex to manipulate asymmetric frontal cortical activity was combined with a modified version of the Cyberball paradigm designed to induce jealousy. After receiving 15 min of tDCS, participants were excluded by a desired partner and reported how jealous they felt. Among individuals who were excluded, tDCS to increase relative left frontal cortical activity caused greater levels of self-reported jealousy compared to tDCS to increase relative right frontal cortical activity or sham stimulation. Limitations concerning the specificity of this effect and implications for the role of the asymmetric prefrontal cortical activity in motivated behaviors are discussed.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Jealousy*
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology
  • Psychological Distance*
  • Self Report
  • Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation