Imaging studies typically report data that are averaged over groups of individuals. However, individuals vary in quality and intensity of their reactions to similar emotional stimuli. This is often referred to as affective style (Davidson & Irwin, 1999), presumably reflecting differences in temperament, personality, and psychopathological vulnerability. Electrocortical studies of affective style have suggested that left frontal brain activity is associated with positive emotions and approach behavior, whereas right frontal activation predicts negative emotions and avoidance. Affective style has also been related to emotionally determined differences in amygdala activation. Activity in the amygdala has been shown to correlate with aversive emotional reactions in general and fear in particular (Davidson & Irwin, 1999).
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