Minamoto, T., Yaoi, K.., Osaka, M., Osaka, N.
Extrapunitive and intropunitive individuals activate different parts of the prefrontal
cortex under an ego-blocking frustration
Different people make different responses when they face a frustrating situation:
some punish others (extrapunitive), while others punish themselves (intropunitive).
Few studies have investigated the neural structures that differentiate extrapunitive
and intropunitive individuals. The present fMRI study explored these neural
structures using two different frustrating situations: an ego-blocking situation which
blocks a desire or goal, and a superego-blocking situation which blocks self-esteem.
In the ego-blocking condition, the extrapunitive group (n = 9) showed greater activation
in the bilateral ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, indicating that these individuals prefer
emotional processing. On the other hand, the intropunitive group (n = 9) showed
greater activation in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, possibly reflecting an effortful
control for anger reduction. Such patterns were not observed in the superego-blocking
condition. These results indicate that the prefrontal cortex is the source of individual
differences in aggression direction in the ego-blocking situation.