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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2019 Feb 13. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001922. [Epub ahead of print]

Acute Exercise Prevents Angry Mood Induction but Does Not Change Angry Emotions.

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Department of Biology, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL.
Department of Kinesiology, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA.
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Bio-Imaging Research Center, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA.



Exercise is well-known to enhance a variety of mood states, but few studies have been specifically designed to investigate whether acute aerobic exercise alters feelings of anger. The goal of this study was to determine the magnitude of the effects of acute exercise on both angry mood and angry emotions.


Angry mood and angry emotions were assessed in 16 men with elevated trait anger who viewed a variety of emotionally evocative scenic pictures before and after 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity aerobic exercise. Angry mood, captured by self-reports of state anger, as well as angry emotions, as indexed by event-related brain activity (e.g., EPN, and the LPP), and self-reports of anger intensity, were measured.


The results indicate that acute exercise both 1) reduces angry mood and 2) mitigates angry mood induction, but does not change the intensity of angry emotions or the associated ERP responses to anger-inducing pictures in college-aged men who have elevated trait-anger.


Future studies should explore the mechanisms underlying the effect of exercise on preventing angry mood induction, consider alternative anger-induction methods that might induce higher levels of angry emotions, and test the effects of chronic exercise training on anger and its expression.

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