Brain-Activity Data Clarify Contradictions In Earlier Anxiety Research

left-hemisphere activity were looking at worry. Now we have a possible explanation for this very bizarre pattern in the literature."

A clearer picture of right-hemisphere involvement in emotional responses to the environment is emerging, Heller said. "It also may turn out to play a role in anxiety disorders in general. In post-traumatic stress, for example, a person becomes hypervigilant. We know the threat system is activated. The puzzle is coming together, allowing us to begin looking for the mechanism."

The findings in Abnormal Psychology were reported by Heller, doctoral students Jack B. Nitschke and Marci A. Etienne, and Gregory A. Miller, a professor of psychology. A related study, done by Heller, Nitschke and Dr. Dana L. Lindsay, a U. of I. medical student who now is at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, appeared in the journal Cognition and Emotion. Heller also detailed a subsequent, unpublished study at the Fourth Laterality and Psychopathology Conference in London in June. The work was supported by the National Institutes of Mental Health.


Contact: Jim Barlow, Life Sciences Editor
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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