Trait anger modulates neural activity in the fronto-parietal attention network

Nelly Alia-Klein, Rebecca N. Preston-Campbell, Scott J. Moeller, Muhammad A. Parvaz, Keren Bachi, Gabriela Gan, Anna Zilverstand, Anna B. Konova, Rita Z. Goldstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Anger is considered a unique high-arousal and approach-related negative emotion. The influence of individual differences in trait anger on the processing of visual stimuli is relevant to questions about emotional processing and remains to be explored. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we explored the neural responses to standardized images, selected based on valence and arousal ratings in a group of men with high trait anger compared to those with normative to low anger scores (controls). Results show increased activation in the left-lateralized ventral fronto-parietal attention network to unpleasant images by individuals with high trait anger. There was also a group by arousal interaction in the left thalamus/pulvinar such that individuals with high trait anger had increased pulvinar activation to the high-arousal (versus low arousal) unpleasant images as compared to controls. Thus, individual differences in trait anger in men are associated with brain regions subserving executive attentional and sensory integration during the processing of unpleasant emotional stimuli, particularly to high arousal images.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0194444
JournalPloS one
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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