Asymmetry in Resting Alpha Activity: Effects of Handedness


Study Aim: Frontal electroencephalographic (EEG) alpha band power during rest shows increased right, and/or de-creased left, hemisphere activity under conditions of state or trait withdrawal-associated affect. Non-right-handers (NRH) are more likely to have mental illnesses and dispositions that involve such withdrawal-related affect. The aim of the study was to examine whether NRH might be characterized by increased right, relative to left, hemisphere activity during rest. Methods: The present research investigated that hypothesis by examining resting EEG alpha power in consistently-right-handed (CRH) and NRH individuals. Results: In support of the hypothesis, NRH demonstrated de-creased right hemisphere alpha power, and therefore increased right hemisphere activity, during rest, compared to CRH. Conclusions: The study demonstrates further support for an association between increased right hemisphere activity and negative affect via an association between such EEG activity and NRH.

Share and Cite:

R. Propper, J. Pierce, M. Geisler, S. Christman and N. Bellorado, "Asymmetry in Resting Alpha Activity: Effects of Handedness," Open Journal of Medical Psychology, Vol. 1 No. 4, 2012, pp. 86-90. doi: 10.4236/ojmp.2012.14014.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] J. Henriques and R. Davidson, “Left Frontal Hypoactivation in Depression,” Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Vol. 100, 1991, pp. 535-545. doi:10.1037/0021-843X.100.4.535
[2] C. Schaffer, R. Davidson and C. Saron, “Frontal and Parietal Electroencephalogram Asymmetry in Depressed and Nondepressed Subjects,” Biological Psychiatry, Vol. 18, 1983, pp. 753-762.
[3] E. Hayden, R. Wiegand, E. Meyer, L. Bauer, S. O’Connor, J. Nurnberger, D. Chorlian, B. Porjesz, and H. Begleiter, “Patterns of Regional Brain Activity in Alcohol-Depen- dent Subjects,” Journal of Alcoholism Clinical Experimental Research, Vol. 30, 2006, pp. 1986-1991. doi:10.1111/j.1530-0277.2006.00244.x
[4] G. Blackhart, J. Minnix and J. Kline, “Can EEG Asymmetry Patterns Predict Future Development of Anxiety and Depression? A Preliminary Study,” Biological Psychology, Vol. 72, 2004, pp. 46-50. doi:10.1016/j.biopsycho.2005.06.010
[5] R. Davidson, J. Marshal, A. Tomarken and J. Henriques, “While a Phobic Waits: Regional Brain Electrical and Autonomic Activity in Social Phobics during Anticipation of Public Speaking,” Biological Psychiatry, Vol. 47, 2004, pp. 85-95. doi:10.1016/S0006-3223(99)00222-X
[6] R. Davidson, “Emotion and Affective Style: Hemispheric Substrates,” Psychological Science, Vol. 3, 2002, pp. 39-43. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.1992.tb00254.x
[7] R. Davidson, “Well-Being and Affective Style: Neural Substrates and Biobehavioural Correlates,” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Vol. 359, 2004, pp. 1395-1411. doi:10.1098/rstb.2004.1510
[8] H. Urry, J. Nitschke, I. Dolski, D. Jackson, K. Dalton, C. Mueller, M. Rosenkranze, C. Ryff, B. Singer and R. Davidson, “Making a Life Worth Living: Neural Correlates of Well-Being,” Psychological Science, Vol. 15, 2004, pp. 367-372.doi:10.1111/j.0956-7976.2004.00686.x
[9] S. Dane, and M. Sekertekin, “Differences in Handedness and Scores of Aggressiveness and Interpersonal Relations of Soccer Players,” Perceptual and Motor Skills, Vol. 100, 2005, pp. 743-746. doi:10.2466/PMS.100.3.743-746
[10] K. Dillon, “Lateral Preference and Students’ Worries: A Correlation,” Psychological Reports, Vol. 65, 1989, pp. 496-498. doi:10.2466/pr0.1989.65.2.496
[11] R. Hicks, and R. Pellegrini, “Handedness and Anxiety,” Cortex, Vol.14, 1978, pp. 119-121.
[12] L. Wright, S. Hardie and K. Wilson, “Handedness and Behavioural Inhibition: Left-Handed Females Show Most Inhibition as Measured by BIS/BA Self-Report,” Journal of Personality and Individual Differences, Vol. 46, 2008, pp. 20-24. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2008.08.019
[13] K. Denny, “Handedness and Depression: Evidence from a Large Population Survey,” Laterality, Vol. 14, 2009, pp. 246-255. doi:10.1080/13576500802362869
[14] O. Fasmer, H. Akiskal, K. Hugdahl and K. Oedegaard, “Non-Right-Handedness Is Associated with Migraine and Soft Bipolarity in Patients with Mood Disorders,” Journal of Affective Disorders, Vol. 108, 2008, pp. 217-224. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2007.10.028
[15] S. Coren, The Left-Hander Syndrome: The Causes and Consequences of Left-Handedness,” Random House, New York, 2003.
[16] R. E. Propper, T. T. Brunyé, S. D. Christman and J. Bologna, “Negative Emotional Valence Is Associated with Non-Right-Handedness and Increased Imbalance of Hemispheric Activation as Measured by Tympanic Membrane Temperature,” Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, Vol. 198, No. 9, 2010, pp. 691-694. doi:10.1097/NMD.0b013e3181ef1f35
[17] P. Flor-Henry and Z. Koles, “EEG Characteristics of Normal Subjects: A Comparison of Men and Women and of Dextrals and Sinistrals,” Research Communications in Psychology, Psychiatry, and Behavior, Vol. 7, 1982, pp. 21-38.
[18] K. O’Connor and J. Shaw, “Field Dependence, Laterality and the EEG,” Biological Psychology, Vol. 6, 1978, pp. 93-109. doi:10.1016/0301-0511(78)90049-2
[19] R. Propper, J. Pierce, M. Geisler, S. Christman and N. Bellorado, “Effect of Bilateral Eye Movements on Frontal Interhemispheric Gamma EEG Coherence: Implications for EMDR Therapy,” Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, Vol. 195, 2007, pp. 785-788. doi:10.1097/NMD.0b013e318142cf73
[20] R. Oldfield, “The Assessment and Analysis of Handedness: The Edinburgh Inventory,” Neuropsychology, Vol. 9, 1971, pp. 97-113.doi:10.1016/0028-3932(71)90067-4
[21] P. Dassonville, X.-H. Zhu, K. Ugurbil, S. Kim and J. Ashe, “Functional Activation in Motor Cortex Reflects the Direction and the Degree of Handedness,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United Stated of America, Vol. 94, 1997, pp. 14015-14018. doi:10.1073/pnas.94.25.14015
[22] L. Lansky, H. Feinstein and J. Peterson, “Demography of Handedness in Two Samples of Randomly Selected Adults (N = 2083),” Neuropsychologia, Vol. 26, 1988, pp. 465-477. doi:10.1016/0028-3932(88)90099-1
[23] K. Buss, J. Malmstadt Schumacher, I. Dolski, N. Kalin, H. Goldsmith and R. Davidson, “Right Frontal Brain Activity, Cortisol and Withdrawal Behavior in 6-Month-Old Infants,” Journal of Behavioral Neuroscience, Vol. 117, 2003, pp. 11-20. doi:10.1037/0735-7044.117.1.11
[24] J. Intriligator and J. Polich, “On the Relationship between EEG and ERP Variability,” International Journal of Psychophysiology, Vol. 20, 1995, pp. 59-74. doi:10.1016/0167-8760(95)00028-Q
[25] K. Spencer and J. Polich, “Post-Stimulus EEG Spectral Analysis and P300-Attention, Task, and Probability,” Psychophysiology, Vol. 36, 1999, pp. 220-232. doi:10.1111/1469-8986.3620220
[26] R. Propper, S. Christman and K. Phaneuf, “A Mixed-Handed Advantage in Episodic Memory: A Possible Role of Interhemispheric Interaction,” Journal of Memory and Cognition, Vol. 33, 2005, pp. 751-757. doi:10.3758/BF03195341
[27] S. Christman, M. Bentle and C. Niebauer, “Handedness Differences in Body Image Distortion and Eating Disorder Symptomatology,” International Journal of Eating Disorders, Vol. 40, 2007, pp. 247-256. doi:10.1002/eat.20357
[28] S. Christman, B. Henning, A. Geers, R. Propper and C. Niebauer, “Mixed-Handed Persons are More Easily Persuaded and are More Gullible: Interhemispheric Interaction and Belief Updating,” Laterality, Vol. 13, 2008, pp. 403-426. doi:10.1080/13576500802079646

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.