Resting electrocortical activity in adults with dysfunctional anger: a pilot study
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Although dysfunctional anger is not a DMS diagnosis, some individuals present with dysfunctional anger, to the exclusion of other psychiatric disorders, as the primary clinical feature. However, our understanding of the neural basis of dysfunctional anger is limited. Though previous work has examined electroencephalographic (EEG) activity in individuals with high trait anger, and in youth with disorders consistent with dysfunctional anger, no studies have assessed EEG activity in adults with dysfunctional anger. This study examined resting EEG by way of relative power in the beta and alpha bands, as well as absolute frontal and parietal alpha(1/2) asymmetry, in 15 adults with psychiatrist-assessed and psychometrically rated dysfunctional anger (Anger) and 14 control participants (Control). The Anger group had increased overall relative beta(1) power during both eyes-open and closed conditions. Inconsistent with most precedent literature, the Anger group also exhibited greater relative right fronto-cortical activation (alpha(1)-indexed frontal asymmetry) during the eyes-closed condition. This may reflect greater anxious arousal and/or compensatory activation of inhibitory tendencies associated with right frontal activation in individuals with dysfunctional anger. Enhanced beta(1) activity may index greater tonic cortical arousal or a chronic hypervigilant state, which may predispose individuals with dysfunctional anger to over-react to relatively innocuous stimuli.
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