Abstract

Very little is known about the neural circuitry guiding anger, angry rumination, and aggressive personality. In the present fMRI experiment, participants were insulted and induced to ruminate. Activity in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex was positively related to self-reported feelings of anger and individual differences in general aggression. Activity in the medial prefrontal cortex was related to self-reported rumination and individual differences in displaced aggression. Increased activation in the hippocampus, insula, and cingulate cortex following the provocation predicted subsequent self-reported rumination. These findings increase our understanding of the neural processes associated with the risk for aggressive behavior by specifying neural regions that mediate the subjective experience of anger and angry rumination as well as the neural pathways linked to different types of aggressive behavior.

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