The feeling of anger: From brain networks to linguistic expressions

Nelly Alia-Klein*, Gabriela Gan, Gadi Gilam, Jessica Bezek, Antonio Bruno, Thomas F. Denson, Talma Hendler, Leroy Lowe, Veronica Mariotti, Maria R. Muscatello, Sara Palumbo, Silvia Pellegrini, Pietro Pietrini, Amelia Rizzo, Edelyn Verona

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


This review of the neuroscience of anger is part of The Human Affectome Project, where we attempt to map anger and its components (i.e., physiological, cognitive, experiential) to the neuroscience literature (i.e., genetic markers, functional imaging of human brain networks) and to linguistic expressions used to describe anger feelings. Given the ubiquity of anger in both its normative and chronic states, specific language is used in humans to express states of anger. Following a review of the neuroscience literature, we explore the language that is used to convey angry feelings, as well as metaphors reflecting inner states of anger experience. We then discuss whether these linguistic expressions can be mapped on to the neural circuits during anger experience and to distinct components of anger. We also identify relationships between anger components, brain networks, and other affective research relevant to motivational states of dominance and basic needs for safety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)480-497
Number of pages18
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
StatePublished - Jan 2020


  • Aggression
  • Anger
  • Brain
  • Emotion
  • Feeling
  • Genes
  • Language
  • Polymorphisms
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Rage
  • fMRI


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