How the brain suppresses the act of revenge

Feeling angry can lead to a desire for revenge. Researchers from the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, study how the process happens at a cerebral level. They have developed an economic game in which the player is confronted with both fair and unfair actions of others.


Through brain imaging, they observed the areas of brain that were the most active when the participant experienced unfrainess and anger. Next, they offered the participant the option to take revenge, thus identifying the areas of brain related to the act of revenge. This happens in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). When this area is more active, the participant is less inclined to take revenge.

The provocation phase played a crucial role in localizing the feeling of anger in the brain. Activity was observed in the superior temporal lobe and the amygdala, known mainly for the emotions of fear and the processing the relevance of feelings. The researchers have observed that there is a direct correlation between brain activity in DLPFC when thinking about the act of vengeance, area also known for emotional regulation, and behavioral choices.

Read more here (Université de Genève. “How the brain suppresses the act of revenge: Researchers find which brain zones are activated in anger.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 August 2018.)

Original paper: Klimecki, O.M., Sander, D. and Vuilleumier, P., 2018. Distinct brain areas involved in anger versus punishment during social interactions. Scientific reports8(1), pp.1-12.