The human neuroscience of anger, angry rumination, and anger control

Friday, 10th May 2019
Versione stampabile

Doctoral Course of Cognitive Science - PhD Seminar
Within the MIUR programme framework “Dipartimenti di Eccellenza”

Time: 11h30 - 12h30

Venue: Department of Psychology and Cognitive Science, Meeting Room, Corso Bettini 31, Rovereto

Speaker: Thomas F. Denson - School of Psychology, University of New South Wales (Sydney, Australia)

Scientific coordinator: Jeroen Vaes

Abstract: In collaboration with several other researchers, we have recently developed a neuroscience model of anger, which accounts for the existing data and can be used to derive new hypotheses. This talk will review research from our lab over the past decade that has examined the neural underpinnings of the anger using real insults, angry rumination, and anger control. Our research largely coincides with this model, which consists of four distinct networks. The salience/threat detection network is active when provoked and especially so among people prone to aggressive behaviour. The automatic approach network consists of reward activation and is thought to facilitate approach. The mentalising network consists of regions involved in social cognition and self-referential processes and is prominently activated during angry rumination. Finally, the self-regulation network consists of prefrontal structures involved in behavioural control and response selection. Together these four networks provide a fairly comprehensive picture of how anger provocation impacts the brain, which regions are implicated in hostile thoughts following provocation, and which regions are involved in anger control and behavioural responses to provocation.