Tracing the neural carryover effects of interpersonal anger on resting-state fMRI in men and their relation to traumatic stress symptoms in a subsample of soldiers

Gadi Gilam*, Adi Maron-Katz, Efrat Kliper, Tamar Lin, Eyal Fruchter, Ron Shamir, Talma Hendler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Uncontrolled anger may lead to aggression and is common in various clinical conditions, including post traumatic stress disorder. Emotion regulation strategies may vary with some more adaptive and efficient than others in reducing angry feelings. However, such feelings tend to linger after anger provocation, extending the challenge of coping with anger beyond provocation. Task-independent resting-state (rs) fMRI may be a particularly useful paradigm to reveal neural processes of spontaneous recovery from a preceding negative emotional experience. We aimed to trace the carryover effects of anger on endogenous neural dynamics by applying a data-driven examination of changes in functional connectivity (FC) during rs-fMRI between before and after an interpersonal anger induction (N = 44 men). Anger was induced based on unfair monetary offers in a previously validated decision-making task. We calculated a common measure of global FC (gFC) which captures the level of FC between each region and all other regions in the brain, and examined which brain regions manifested changes in this measure following anger. We next examined the changes in all functional connections of each individuated brain region with all other brain regions to reveal which connections underlie the differences found in the gFC analysis of the previous step. We subsequently examined the relation of the identified neural modulations in the aftermath of anger with state- and trait- like measures associated with anger, including brain structure, and in a subsample of designated infantry soldiers (N = 21), with levels of traumatic stress symptoms (TSS) measured 1 year later following combat-training. The analysis pipeline revealed an increase in right amygdala gFC in the aftermath of anger and specifically with the right inferior frontal gyrus (IFG).We found that the increase in FC between the right amygdala and right IFG following anger was positively associated with smaller right IFG volume, higher trait-anger level and among soldiers with more TSS. Moreover, higher levels of right amygdala gFC at baseline predicted less reported anger during the subsequent anger provocation. The results suggest that increased amygdala-IFG connectivity following anger is associated with maladaptive recovery, and relates to long-term development of stress symptomatology in a subsample of soldiers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number252
JournalFrontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience
StatePublished - 20 Dec 2017


FundersFunder number
U.S. Department of DefenseW81XWH-11-2-0008
University of Chicago39174-07
Ministry of Science, Technology and Space3-11170
Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education of Israel51/11


    • Amygdala
    • Anger
    • FMRI
    • IFG
    • PTSD
    • Recovery
    • Rumination
    • Stress


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