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What Goes Through an Angry Body?

What happens when you don’t get the much-deserved promotion? How do you feel when your spouse leaves you for a better proposition? What is your reaction when someone else takes away your parking space? What goes through your mind when an article asks you too many questions in the beginning itself? Ok we got it- you get angry. Anger is one of the most used emotions in a human being. So, what exactly goes inside us when we get angry? That’s what the scientists at the University of Valencia tried to explore. They found out the physical and mental changes that occur in the body when we lose our cool.

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The Study
The research involved 30 men. The researchers used ÔÇťAnger Induction” (AI) procedure to provoke anger in the participants. The procedure consisted of 50 phrases in the first person which reflect the common day-to-day situations that would induce anger. The following things were measured in each of the men before and after the Anger Induction:

  • heart rate
  • arterial tension
  • levels of the cortisol and testosterone
  • dichotic listening technique was used to observe activation of their brain which was asymmetric
  • the state of mind in general
  • individual experience of the anger on each participant

The Results
The following results were observed in the study:

  • the anger emotion leads to profound changes in the subject’s state of mind
  • all became angry
  • all had a negative state of mind
  • there was an increase in the heart rate and arterial tension
  • there was a rise in the testosterone level
  • the cortisol level decreased

These results are published in Hormones and Behavior journal.

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The Conclusion
According to Neus Herrero, one of the researches at the University of Valencia and the chief author of this study, emotions give rise to profound changes:

  • in our nervous system, which controls our cardiovascular response
  • in our endocrine system
  • in the cerebral activity

Another interesting observation was made in the research. Anger greatly activates the left hemisphere of the brain. When we get angry we tend to get closer to the source which causes anger in order to eliminate it.

This unique study is the first-of-its-kind on emotions (anger) and their response on different psychobiological patterns. It supports Darwin who also noted that all the emotions are accompanied by specific and unique psychobiological parameters for every emotion.

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