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Contrasting patterns of brain activity in anxious apprehension and anxious arousal

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 September 1999

JACK B. NITSCHKE
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA
WENDY HELLER
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA
PATRICK A. PALMIERI
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA
GREGORY A. MILLER
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA
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Abstract

Evidence suggests that a distinction between anxious apprehension (worry) and anxious arousal (somatic anxiety) might account for some discrepancies in the literature examining brain activity in anxiety. In the current study, we compared the regional brain activity of groups of anxious apprehension and anxious arousal participants, selected on the basis of self-report measures previously shown to be psychometrically distinct from each other and from a specific measure of depression. Patterns of hemispheric asymmetry in electroencephalogram alpha distinguished the two types of anxiety, with the anxious arousal group showing more right than left activity. No significant asymmetry was found for the anxious apprehension group. The results provide further support for contrasting patterns of brain activity in distinct types of anxiety. Research is needed to specify further the topography and functional significance of this distinction.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 1999 Society for Psychophysiological Research

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