Recognizing Anothers Anger

In recent years, considerable research has been devoted to specifying the brain mechanisms that help mediate a target's perception of another person's anger. This reflects, in part, methodological considerations: It is relatively easy to ask persons (e.g., brain-damaged patients) to evaluate pictures of angry facial expressions or audio recordings of angry speech; it is difficult to elicit anger in the context of a research study. However, the recognition of anger is an important issue in its own right. As discussed earlier, anger is an interpersonal emotion; it presumes a target as well as an angry person. An inability to recognize another's anger may thus be as disruptive of social relationships as is the inability to express anger appropriately.

The results of research on anger recognition have been variable, allowing few generalizations. The amygdala, the anterior cingulate cortex, and the frontal lobes are areas of the brain frequently implicated in studies of the visual recognition of angry expressions, although these areas are often implicated in the recognition of other emotional expressions as well. Damage to the amygdala has also been associated with difficulty in auditory recognition of anger cues, although several recent studies have called into question the importance of the amygdala in recognizing vocal expressions of emotion.

When interpreting results of research on anger recognition, several considerations must be kept in mind. First, the expressions of anger used in these studies are typically responses (e.g., facial displays) that occur at the organizational level III or below, as depicted in Fig. 1. That is, they are more indicative of aggressive intent than of anger per se. Second, the recognition of an emotional expression need not elicit the same emotion in the perceiver as in the sender; that is, when recognition of an angry expression does occur, the response of the perceiver may be fear or remorse, not anger in return. Third, even when the same emotion (anger) is elicited in the perceiver as in the sender, the brain mechanisms involved in recognition need not be the same as those involved in expression.

Breaking Bulimia

Breaking Bulimia

We have all been there: turning to the refrigerator if feeling lonely or bored or indulging in seconds or thirds if strained. But if you suffer from bulimia, the from time to time urge to overeat is more like an obsession.

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