Carnegie Mellon University
January 29, 2019

From Fruit Fly To Stink Eye: Searching For Anger's Animal Roots

By Jon Hamilton, NPR

NPR- Heard on All Things Considered: 

Marcel Just, a neuroscientist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, also thinks there is a strong biological component to anger and other emotions. Just is one of the few scientists who have actually studied anger in human brains. And what he found was surprising. "Everybody's anger feels very personal," he says. "But in fact if you and I were both in an MRI scanner and measured the activation, the pattern would be rather similar." Just was part of a team that trained a computer to recognize the brain activity associated with emotions in people. And a study showed that it was able to identify anger most of the time and to differentiate that emotion from others, like disgust. One way the human brain may differ from an animal's is in the circuits used to control emotions, including anger, Just says. He thinks our ability to use these circuits probably depends more on nurture than nature. Read more