Frontal Asymmetry in an Approach-Avoidance Conflict Paradigm

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University of Alabama Libraries

Past work in frontal asymmetry has attempted to link greater relative right frontal asymmetry with avoidance motivation. The results of these studies have been mixed, but little of this work has accounted for motivational conflicts that may arise when attempting to manipulate motivational avoidance (Gable et al., 2018). The current study sought to disentangle the existing confound between avoidance motivation and motivational conflict. In the study, participants made percent likelihood selections for their chances of viewing a negative or positive image when they could win zero points regardless of the type of image viewed (avoidance only condition) or when they could win one, three, or six points by viewing the negative image (approach avoidance conflict conditions). Participants exhibited greater relative right frontal asymmetry while making percent likelihood selections in the approach avoidance conflict conditions relative to the avoidance only conditions. Additionally, participants exhibited greater relative right frontal asymmetry while viewing disgust images during trials with the greatest approach avoidance conflict relative to trials with the lowest approach avoidance conflict. Together, these results suggest that motivational conflict, and not avoidance motivation, is associated with greater relative right frontal activation.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Emotion, Frontal Asymmetry, Motivation