Deconstructing anger in the human brain

Gadi Gilam*, Talma Hendler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Anger may be caused by a wide variety of triggers, and though it has negative consequences on health and well-being, it is also crucial in motivating to take action and approach rather than avoid a confrontation. While anger is considered a survival response inherent in all living creatures, humans are endowed with the mental flexibility that enables them to control and regulate their anger, and adapt it to socially accepted norms. Indeed, a profound interpersonal nature is apparent in most events which evoke anger among humans. Since anger consists of physiological, cognitive, subjective, and behavioral components, it is a contextualized multidimensional construct that poses theoretical and operational difficulties in defining it as a single psychobiological phenomenon. Although most neuroimaging studies have neglected the multidimensionality of anger and thus resulted in brain activations dispersed across the entire brain, there seems to be several reoccurring neural circuits subserving the subjective experience of human anger. Nevertheless, to capture the large variety in the forms and fashions in which anger is experienced, expressed, and regulated, and thus to better portray the related underlying neural substrates, neurobehavioral investigations of human anger should aim to further embed realistic social interactions within their anger induction paradigms.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationCurrent Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages17
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameCurrent Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
ISSN (Print)1866-3370
ISSN (Electronic)1866-3389

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015.


  • Anger
  • Angry brain
  • Emotion regulation
  • Neuroimaging
  • Social interaction


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