Frontal lobe asymmetry and impulsive aggression : a reinforcement sensitivity study.




Lake, Sarah Laurie.

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The current study compared impulsive aggressive individuals and nonaggressive controls using frontal cortical EEG activity. Impulsive aggression is a reactive or emotionally charged violent response characterized by a loss of behavioral control. Previous physiological studies have found impulsive aggressors (IAs) have sensory and informational processing deficits. Undergraduate male volunteers (n = 15 IAs, n = 15 controls) completed a resting EEG and two affective picture tasks intended to manipulate emotional state. IAs showed more right frontal cortical activity than controls at lateral frontal electrodes at rest [t(28) = 2.470, p = .020] and had similar asymmetry indices throughout the two emotional paradigms [t(14) = .890, ns]. Controls, however, were able to engage the Behavioral Inhibition System (BIS) during withdrawal-related stimuli [t(14) = 2.576, p = .022]. An interaction between group and picture task [F(2, 14) = 3.818, p = .028] reinforced this result. Results indicated that IAs have an overactive BIS and thus cannot appropriate the proper biological systems in response to emotional stimuli. Future directions are discussed.



Impulsive aggression., Frontal cortical asymmetry., Emotional processing dysfunction.