Extensive human and animal research has examined approach and withdrawal motivation, which we define as the simple urge to move toward or away, respectively. In this chapter, we review seminal and recent research that showing that asymmetrical frontal cortical activity underlies approach and withdrawal motivation that occur during childhood, that characterize certain psychopathologies, and are present in everyday emotional experiences. Specifically, greater left-frontal activity is involved in approach motivation, including the expression and experience of anger, jealousy, desire, and joy. Conversely, greater right-frontal activity is involved in withdrawal motivation, including the expression and experience of some forms of sadness, crying, and depressed mood. We also review recent research suggesting that connectivity between the frontal and parietal cortices is a potential mechanism for the motivation-related effects of asymmetrical frontal activity.
Angus, D.J. and Harmon-Jones, E. (2016), "On the Neuroscience of Approach and Withdrawal Motivation, with a Focus on the Role of Asymmetrical Frontal Cortical Activity", Recent Developments in Neuroscience Research on Human Motivation (Advances in Motivation and Achievement, Vol. 19), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 37-63. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0749-742320160000019003
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