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Biol Psychiatry. 1987 Oct;22(10):1201-15.

Right hemisphere involvement in depression: toward a neuropsychological theory of negative affective experiences.

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Psychology Department, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque 87131.


Several lines of inquiry provide converging evidence for a critical role for the right cerebral hemisphere in negative affective experiences. This research includes the assessment of affective consequences of both focal cerebral lesions and pharmacological inactivation of one or the other hemisphere, as well as experimental and physiological techniques assessing differential hemispheric activation. The specific nature of right hemispheric involvement is conceptualized as a tendency to become activated by aversive experiences, and once activated, to process stimuli in a manner consistent with the right hemisphere's more negative affective tone. A theory of right hemisphere involvement in depressive affect is presented in detail and its relevance to clinical phenomena, e.g., the co-occurrence of depression and pain, and sex differences in depression, is examined, as is congruence with cognitive theories of depression.

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