Cradle of Anger in the Brain Discovered

by Rajashri on September 3, 2008 at 10:49 AM
 Cradle of Anger in the Brain Discovered

Different parts of the brain that light up when a person feels insulted have been identified by researchers at the University of New South Wales.

Lead researcher Dr. Thomas Denson says that this research may help discern why some people fly off the handle, while others will let their anger stew.


"The classic person who is provoked like that will respond immediately and just let you have it. That's general aggression," the Couriermail quoted Denson as saying.

"But then there are those people who don't respond right away, but will tend to ruminate and end up harming others later on - they're often the road ragers.

"We don't know what causes people to develop into these different personalities," he added.

During the study, Denson placed the participants insides a brain scanner, and told them that they were taking part in an experiment to test their "cognitive ability and mental imagery".

The subjects were given clear instructions to state their answers to anagrams, or say "no answer", and were interrupted by a researcher to ask them to speak louder.

On the fourth interruption, the researcher says rudely: "Look, this is the third time I have had to say this! Can't you follow directions?"

Denson says: "Provocation is subjective - but it is really when someone has a sense of being unjustly wronged in some way."

Analysing the findings from other similar blind tests, Denson came to the conclusion that anger was linked to a part of the brain called the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex.

The researcher further said that slowly mulling over an insult took place in the medial prefrontal cortex.

While Denson says that little is known about which brain regions are responsible for emotions and why people react differently, Dr Alan Keen of the University of Central Queensland believes that Australians are getting angrier.

"Anger is a sign of depression - so why are people in large cities more angry? There are some suggestions that it's our modern lifestyle," he says.

Keen thinks that reductions in leisure time, stressful commutes, and demanding jobs affect the chemical make-up of the brain.

"The chemistry of the brain changes with the environment. If I'm living in a big city with a busy job and I'm multi-tasking and I'm a busy parent then in the brain, all that translates into chemical changes," he says.

Source: ANI
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