A historical review of investigations on laterality of emotions in the human brain

Guido Gainotti

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista

14 Citazioni (Scopus)


Different models of emotional lateralization, advanced since the first clinical observations raised this issue, will be reviewed following their historical progression. The clinical investigations that have suggested a general dominance of the right hemisphere for all kinds of emotions and the experimental studies that have proposed a different hemispheric specialization for positive vs. negative emotions (valence hypothesis) or for approach vs. withdrawal tendencies (motivational hypothesis) will be reviewed first and extensively. This historical review will be followed by a short discussion of recent anatomo-clinical and activation studies that have investigated (a) emotional and behavioral disorders of patients with asymmetrical forms of fronto-temporal degeneration and (b) laterality effects in specific brain structures (amygdala, ventro-medial prefrontal cortex, and anterior insula) playing a critical role in different components of emotions. Overall, these studies support the hypothesis of a right hemisphere dominance for all components of the emotional system.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)23-41
Numero di pagine19
RivistaJournal of the History of the Neurosciences
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2019


  • Amygdala
  • Brain
  • Brain Injuries
  • Emotions
  • Functional Laterality
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychophysiology
  • anterior insula
  • approach vs avoidance tendencies
  • fronto-temporal degeneration
  • history of emotional laterality
  • laterality of emotions
  • right hemisphere hypothesis
  • valence hypothesis
  • ventro-medial prefrontal cortex


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