There is growing evidence that left versus right prefrontal activation asymmetries support approach- and withdrawal-related emotions, respectively. Anger is associated with aggressive behavior and reduced inhibition, which has been shown to rely on the right prefrontal cortex. This proposal aims to explore the role of approach-related prefrontal activity in mediating the relationship between anger and behavioral inhibition. This will be accomplished by examining deficits in behavioral inhibition following anger induction as well as activity on a behavioral aggression task, as a function of both baseline and anger-induced asymmetries in prefrontal cortex activity. Lastly, lifespan considerations will be explored in respect to the mechanisms leading from anger to aggression, as research suggests a differential pattern of emotional responding later in life. This is a predoctoral proposal that will be the first step in a program of research designed to understand the neural mechanisms that lead from anger to aggression;the ultimate goal is to predict and mitigate anger-related changes in aggressive behavior.
This proposal seeks to explore the underlying, neural mechanisms that are associated with the pathway leading from anger to aggression. Armed with this information, it is hoped that this line of research will be able to inform prevention and treatment for anger and aggression.