What does the prefrontal cortex “do” in affect: Perspectives on frontal EEG asymmetry research. Biological Psychology, 67, 219-233

Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience, W.M. Keck Laboratory for Functional Neuroimaging and Behavior, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1202 West Johnson Street, Madison, WI 53706, USA.
Biological Psychology (Impact Factor: 3.4). 11/2004; 67(1-2):219-33. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2004.03.008
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This commentary provides reflections on the current state of affairs in research on EEG frontal asymmetries associated with affect. Although considerable progress has occurred since the first report on this topic 25 years ago, research on frontal EEG asymmetries associated with affect has largely evolved in the absence of any serious connection with neuroscience research on the structure and function of the primate prefrontal cortex (PFC). Such integration is important as this work progresses since the neuroscience literature can help to understand what the prefrontal cortex is "doing" in affective processing. Data from the neuroscience literature on the heterogeneity of different sectors of the PFC are introduced and more specific hypotheses are offered about what different sectors of the PFC might be doing in affect. A number of methodological issues associated with EEG measures of functional prefrontal asymmetries are also considered.

21 Reads
  • Source
    • "Then, Oakes et al. (2004) correlated LORETA CSD to regional glucose metabolism with positron emission tomography, where they found that while alpha did show an expected asymmetry relation, the frequency band most consistently and strongly associated with glucose metabolism was gamma; with localization primarily in the frontal lobe region. As a result of these studies, Davidson (2004) concluded an important aspect in advancing this line of research would be exploring frequencies other than alpha to garner additional information. This identified gap in the research, combined with the noted aspect of gamma discovered by Oakes et al. (2004), provides the basis for this study with its focus on gamma asymmetry. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Objective: The purpose of this pilot study was to explore associations between self-reported rank ordering of a set of 23 job-related soft skills and frontal gamma (38 to 42 Hz) asymmetry emerging during exposure to the same set of soft skills. Method: Fourteen individuals responded to a soft skill assessment, then were exposed to a randomized list of the same soft skills' key words while collecting electroencephalographic (EEG) data, using a new implementation of standardized low-resolution brain electromagnetic tomography (sLORETA) to analyze and view voxel images of real-time brain activity. A differential calculation, as a measure of approach or avoidance to the key word stimulus (Approach-Avoidance-Differential; AAD), was used to quantify the asymmetry in response to the stimuli. Spearman's Rank correlations (r s) were calculated for the paired occurrences between the self-reported ranking of the soft skills and the AAD. Results: Overall, 71% of the cases resulted in correlations, indicating soft skill directionality response. Reduction in gamma response intensity was seen when participants' ranked their highest to lowest soft skills, as indicated in their self-reported assessments. Conclusions: These results will inform further organizational neuroscience research which has potential to lead to a new approach to self-report validation and methods to detect individual approach or avoidance biases which impact self-reporting assessments.
    NeuroRegulation 07/2015; 2(2):70-85. DOI:10.15540/nr.2.2.70
    • "In addition to these results, there is abundant evidence supporting the emotion model concerning hemispheric specialization: while the left hemisphere is more involved in processing positive emotions, the right hemisphere is considered to handle negative stimuli (Davidson 1993). The prefrontal cortex plays an important role in emotional and motivational processes (Davidson 2004). According to this model, asymmetry in frontal alpha activity is considered a reflection of emotions, and thus constitutes a measure associated with feelings. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The biological response to stress originates in the brain but involves different biochemical and physiological effects. Many common clinical methods to assess stress are based on the presence of specific hormones and on features extracted from different signals, including electrocardiogram, blood pressure, skin temperature, or galvanic skin response. The aim of this paper was to assess stress using EEG-based variables obtained from univariate analysis and functional connectivity evaluation. Two different stressors, the Stroop test and sleep deprivation, were applied to 30 volunteers to find common EEG patterns related to stress effects. Results showed a decrease of the high alpha power (11 to 12 Hz), an increase in the high beta band (23 to 36 Hz, considered a busy brain indicator), and a decrease in the approximate entropy. Moreover, connectivity showed that the high beta coherence and the interhemispheric nonlinear couplings, measured by the cross mutual information function, increased significantly for both stressors, suggesting that useful stress indexes may be obtained from EEG-based features.
    Physiological Measurement 05/2015; 36:1351. DOI:10.1088/0967-3334/36/7/1351 · 1.81 Impact Factor
    • "Lateralized differences in electrocortical activity were recorded over the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex with a frequency of 8 to 13 Hz in adults, defined as alpha band activity, where lower alpha power is believed to be associated with more activity in underlying cortical brain regions (Coan & Allen, 2003; Davidson, Jackson, & Kalin, 2000). The most extensively investigated and reliable correlate of frontal activity is found in the frontal asymmetry difference score, which reflects the difference between homologous measures of EEG alpha power measured over left and right frontal electrode sites (Allen & Kline, 2004; Coan & Allen, 2003; Davidson, 2004; Schaul, 1998). This frontal EEG asymmetry measure has been used extensively as an index in a variety of populations , suggesting the existence of a reliable neural signature of cognitive and behavioral tendencies (Davidson, Ekman, Saron, Senulis, & Friesen, 1990). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Previous studies have documented the serotonin transporter linked polymorphic region ( 5-HTTLPR ) as a genetic susceptibility variant that contributes to variability in outcomes related to affective psychopathology, with the short allele associated with negative affectivity and the long allele associated with positive affectivity. In a separate but related line of research, extensive evidence suggests that frontal electroencephalography (EEG) hemispheric asymmetry in the alpha band is also associated with risk for affective psychopathologies, with leftward asymmetry associated with approach-related behavior patterns and rightward frontal EEG asymmetry associated with withdrawn behavioral tendencies. We examined frontal EEG hemispheric asymmetries in relation to 5-HTTLPR genotyping in 70 children between 4 and 6 years of age. Analyses revealed that frontal EEG lateralization interacted with genotype such that children homozygous for the short allele exhibited rightward frontal EEG asymmetries, children who were homozygous for the long allele consistently exhibited a positive pattern of leftward asymmetry, and heterozygotes exhibited equivalent left and right frontal activity. These findings suggest that the 5-HTTLPR short allele may provide a degree of susceptibility for later affective psychopathology in adolescence and adulthood, through mediation of frontal brain activity that is associated with cognitive–behavioral withdrawal tendencies and negative affectivity.
    Development and Psychopathology 05/2015; FirstView:1-12. DOI:10.1017/S0954579415000413 · 4.89 Impact Factor
Show more


21 Reads
Available from