Implicit regulatory focus associated with asymmetrical frontal cortical activity

David M. Amodio, James Y. Shah, Jonathan Sigelman, Paige C. Brazy, Eddie Harmon-Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Regulatory focus theory identifies two separate motivational systems, promotion and prevention, that fulfill different regulatory needs and are differentially related to approach and avoidance. In the psychophysiological literature, approach- and avoidance-related emotions and motivational orientations have been linked to asymmetries in frontal cortical activity. In an effort to synthesize these literatures, we examined the relationship between an implicit assessment of chronic regulatory focus and an electroencephalographic (EEG) index of resting frontal cortical asymmetry. Results supported the hypothesis that promotion regulatory focus would be associated with greater left frontal activity, and prevention regulatory focus would be associated with greater right frontal activity. Discussion highlights how this synthesis may benefit theorizing of the relationship between regulatory focus, motivation, and emotion, and of the function of asymmetrical frontal cortical activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-232
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2004


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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