Hemispheric asymmetry in the expression of positive and negative emotions. Neurologic evidence

Arch Neurol. 1982 Apr;39(4):210-8. doi: 10.1001/archneur.1982.00510160016003.


Three retrospective studies were conducted to examine functional brain asymmetry in the regulation of emotion. In the first study, reports of 119 cases were collected of pathological laughing and crying associated with destructive lesions. Pathological laughing was associated with predominantly right-sided damage, whereas pathological crying was associated with predominantly left-sided lesions. In the second study, 19 reports detailing mood following hemispherectomy were collected; right hemispherectomy was associated with euphoric mood change. In the third study, lateralization of epileptic foci was assessed in reports of 91 patients with ictal outbursts of laughing (gelastic epilepsy). Foci were most likely to be predominantly left-sided. The findings are congruent with studies of the effects of unilateral brain insult on mood, and a general model of hemispheric asymmetry in the regulation of emotion is presented.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain / surgery
  • Brain Diseases / pathology
  • Brain Diseases / psychology*
  • Child
  • Crying / physiology
  • Dominance, Cerebral*
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Epilepsy / pathology
  • Epilepsy / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laughter
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies