Anger & the BRAIN (Part 6)

must be those pesky chemicals!

Anger & the Brain (# 4)

SITE:The Brain in Love – areas that are ‘switched off’

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.


Although most brain functions can be found in both hemispheres (More…), each side has its specializations. The 2 main organizing principles for emotions in the pre-frontal cortex (PFC) are based on the slight differences in lobe size, & the differing ways they processing emotions, which are:
a) ‘Emotional Valence’ (pleasant-unpleasant)
b) ‘Motivational Direction’ (approach-withdrawal)

Under positive circumstances, these complementary processes give us the ability to maintain & achieve current action-goals in the face of emotional distraction (sad, angry, excited…..)

a. Approach – The LEFT lobe of the PFC mainly produces chemicals for connections, that allow us to experience pleasurable emotions (joy, interest, relief, love, pleasure…), making it easy for us to be close to others. Damage to this side causes depression.
ALSO – it mainly controls verbal ability & decision-making – about what experiences to store in memory. Interesting : ‘Positive’ emotions improve verbal memory, but hinder spatial memory.

b. Withdrawal – The RIGHT hemisphere is the main source of chemicals generating unpleasant & painful emotions, such as fear, dread, anxiety, disappointment…. which create the desire to withdraw.
These emotions are especially needed to encourage withdrawing from or avoiding inappropriate & dangerous situations. Damage to this side causes anxiety.

ALSO – it mainly deals with spacial tasks, retrieving & monitoring the value of stored memories, & nonverbal movement such as facial expressions. The reverse of the Left side, RIGHT side’s ‘negative’ emotions improve spacial memory, but hinder verbal memory. (🔼 CHART + info)

Howeveranger seems to be a special case, since it’s more likely to activate the LEFT lobe of the prefrontal cortex. Even though we’ve been taught to think of anger as a negative, Señorita Neus Herrero, (U. of Valencia, Spain) points out that :
“Normally when we get angry we show a natural tendency to get closer to what made us angry, to try to eliminate it.” This is healthy.

This response offers a hint as to why many people prefer feeling anger or rage when upset, rather than emotions that are under the anger, such as fear, terror, loneliness, disappointment….(which come from being vulnerable) because it give one a sense of power, and maybe even pleasure. Notice when you or someone else is smiling during or after being angry!

For ACoAs under long-term duress, since the emotional hijacking interferes with our ability to think clearly, we react to everything as if it were an actual danger to us. This can keep us angry, even paranoid – believing we’re still in danger – the way we truly were as kids. (Drawing )

► Being continually fearful, enraged, lonely… in childhood – will burn out much of the neuro-chemicals that would normally create a sense of well-being (left lobe), so we’re left with too much of the down-side ones (right lobe). This can become a chronic condition & will need various treatment to correct (meds, food, herbs, exercise, therapy….)

✿ The 2 amygdala bulbs also determine what memories are stored and in what brain areas, based on how intense the emotional response is to whatever we experience.
Studies by Larry Cahill, PhD at UC Irvine showed that the amygdala is involved in learning & remembering in specific ways:
WOMEN are more likely to remember details of emotional events because their left lobe is more active, while —
MEN are more likely to remember only the gist of emotional events because their right side is more active. (Improving Memory)

SITE: ◆ “Differences in Male & Female brains”- size of areas, chemicals, stress reactions…… (See also Posts re. M/F  Differences)

◆ The Whole Brain Model ➡️  used as a tool to “Improve Team Dynamics & Job Productivity”combines :
A variation of the Myers-Briggs Inventory (psychology) + structural brain parts + Left-Right hemispheres + the 4 brain quadrants (physiology)

Scroll down to see charts (Also on YouTube…..)

CHART below (scroll down: Anger: Amygdala +/ – PFC)


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