What Impact does An Angry Context have Upon Us? The Effect of Anger on Functional Connectivity of the Right Insula and Superior Temporal Gyri


Front. Behav. Neurosci., 06 June 2016

Viridiana Mazzola1, Patrik Vuilleumier2, Leonardo Fazio3, Tiziana Lanciano4,5, Barbara Gelao3,  Teresa Popolizio4, Giampiero Arciero5,7,  Guido Bondolfi7*, Alessandro Bertolino3*

1Department of Neuroscience, University of Geneva, CH 2Laboratory for Behavioral Neurology and Imaging of Cognition, Department of Neurology, University Hospital & Department of Neuroscience, Medical School University of Geneva, CH 3Group of Psychiatric Neuroscience, University of Bari ‘Aldo Moro’, Italy 4Department of Education, Psychology, Communication, University of Bari, Bari, Italy 5Institute of Post-Rationalist Psychology IPRA, Rome, Italy 6 Department of Neuroradiology, “Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza” IRCCSS, San Giovanni Rotondo (FG), Italy  7Department of Mental Health and Psychiatry, University Hospital of Geneva, CH


Being in a social world requires an understanding of other people that is co-determined in its meaning by the situation at hand. Therefore, we investigated the underlying neural activation occurring when we encounter someone acting in angry or joyful situation. We hypothesized a dynamic interplay between the right insula, both involved in mapping visceral states associated with emotional experiences and autonomic control, and the bilateral superior temporal gyri (STG), part of the “social brain”, when facing angry vs. joyful situations. Twenty participants underwent a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanning session while watching video clips of actors grasping objects in joyful and angry situations. The analyses of functional connectivity, psychophysiological interaction (PPI) and dynamic causal modeling (DCM), all revealed changes in functional connectivity associated with the angry situation. Indeed, the DCM model showed that the modulatory effect of anger increased the ipsilateral forward connection from the right insula to the right STG, while it suppressed the contralateral one. Our findings reveal a critical role played by the right insula when we are engaged in angry situations. In addition, they suggest that facing angry people modulates the effective connectivity between these two nodes associated, respectively, with autonomic responses and bodily movements and human-agent motion recognition. Taken together, these results add knowledge to the current understanding of hierarchical brain network for social cognition.


The In-Out dispositional affective style questionnaire (IN-OUT DASQ): an exploratory factorial analysis


Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01005

Viridiana Mazzola1, Giuseppe Marano2, Elia M. Biganzoli2, 3, Patrizia Boracchi2, Tiziana Lanciano4, 5, Giampiero Arciero4, 6 and Guido Bondolfi6

1 CISA, University of Geneva, Switzerland
2 Department of Clinical Sciences and Community, Italy
3 Unit of Medical Statistics and Biometry, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Italy
4 Institute of Post-Rationalist Psychology (IPRA), Italy
5 Department of Education, Psychology, Communication, Italy
6 Department of Psychiatry, HUG, Switzerland


The issue of individual differences has always been an important area of research in psychology and, more recently, neuroimaging. A major source of interindividual variability stems from differences in basic affective dispositions. In order to make a contribution to this field of research, we have developed a new type of assessment – the In-Out Dispositional Affective Style Questionnaire (IN-OUT DASQ) – to measure the proneness between two different ways of feeling situated: a predominantly body-bound one in the case of the inward tendency and an externally anchored one in the case of the outward tendency (Arciero and Bondolfi, 2009). The IN-OUT DASQ contains 2 scales of 7 items each, Self-centric engagement (SCE) and Other-centric engagement (OCE), as a disposition index for inwardness and outwardness respectively. The exploratory factor analysis in sample 1 (n= 292) confirmed a two-factor solution. Confirmatory factor analysis in sample 2 (n= 300) showed the good fit of this two-factor model. Next, we examined construct validity also investigating the correlations between the IN-OUT DASQ, the Big Five Questionnaire and the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule in sample 3 (n=153). The SCE and OCE scales had robust internal consistency and reliability, and therefore the capacity to discriminate higher inward and outward participants was stronger in SCE. Although further validation research is required, the present study suggests the IN-OUT DASQ has the potential to be a measurement tool for detecting individual differences in social behavior and social affective neuroscience.


Developmental Psychology: 17- 22 mesi

Finding oneself in the mirror and in the refraction of language. (In preparation)

Dr.ssa V. Mazzola, Dr. B. Palla, Dr. G. Arciero



The In-Out Dispositional Affective Style Questionnaire: an exploratory factorial analysis. (In preparation)

Dr.ssa V. Mazzola, Dr. G. Marano, Prof. Bondolfi, Dr. G. Arciero