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April 1982

Hemispheric Asymmetry in the Expression of Positive and Negative Emotions: Neurologic Evidence

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychology (Dr Sackeim and Mr Weiman), New York University; the Department of Psychology (Drs Greenberg and Gur), University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; and the Cerebrovascular Research Center (Dr Hungerbuhler) and the Harvard Neurological Unit (Dr Geschwind), Beth Israel Hospital, Boston. Dr Hungerbuhler is now with the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Lausanne, Switzerland.

Arch Neurol. 1982;39(4):210-218. doi:10.1001/archneur.1982.00510160016003

• Three retrospective studies were conducted to examine functional brain asymmetry in the regulation of emotion. In the first study, reports of 119 cases were collected of pathological laughing and crying associated with destructive lesions. Pathological laughing was associated with predominantly right-sided damage, whereas pathological crying was associated with predominantly left-sided lesions. In the second study, 19 reports detailing mood following hemispherectomy were collected; right hemispherectomy was associated with euphoric mood change. In the third study, lateralization of epileptic foci was assessed in reports of 91 patients with ictal outbursts of laughing (gelastic epilepsy). Foci were most likely to be predominantly left-sided. The findings are congruent with studies of the effects of unilateral brain insult on mood, and a general model of hemispheric asynmetry in the regulation of emotion is presented.

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