Brain Structure and Function

, Volume 212, Issue 5, pp 371–385

Models of anger: contributions from psychophysiology, neuropsychology and the cognitive behavioral perspective



The current review examined the research and current models of anger from three distinct literatures: psychophysiology, neuropsychology and the cognitive-behavioral perspective. Two primary conceptual difficulties are addressed in this review. First, the debate over how and when to differentiate between anger and hostility is discussed. Second, the issue regarding cognitive or emotional dominance or primacy in the experience of anger is considered. Once the conceptual ambiguity is addressed, data from the cognitive-behavioral, psychophysiological and neuropsychological literatures are reviewed with a focus on issues of laterality. Particular attention is given to research of appraisal theory from the cognitive literature, cortical arousal and related cerebral models from the psychophysiological literature, and functional cerebral systems from the neuropsychological literature. Despite significant differences appearing both within and between the bodies of literature, when viewed without the traditional ambiguity surrounding this topic, there appears to be a great deal of overlap which may be conducive to the construction of a unified theoretical model. Such a model is proposed in the final section of this paper.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburgUSA

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