The anger incentive delay task: a novel method for studying anger in eeg research

Douglas Angus, Eddie Harmon-Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting AbstractResearchpeer-review


Unlike other basic emotions, anger is relatively difficult to produce in the lab,with the most reliable methods involving elaborate and time-consuming manipulations. These factors preclude the possibility of using them to study short-lived changes in neural activity that precede the subjective experience of anger. In this talk, I present the results of a study using a novel task that allows for the trial-by-trial manipulation of anger and the examination of associated event-related potentials. Participants completed an incentive delay task, in which accurate responses were rewarded with monetary gains or breaking-even and inaccurate responses were punished with monetary losses. In our task, participants received accuracy feedback, followed by stimuli indicating the amount of money they won or lost on that trial. On a majority of trials, this amount was consistent with the feedback stimuli, while on a minority of trials this amount it was inconsistent. Results indicated that participants experienced the most anger after trials where they responded accurately but lost money rather than won money. P3b amplitudes were greater for inconsistent outcomes than consistent outcomes, regardless of whether these resulted in gains or losses. On angering trials, P3b amplitudes were positively correlated with self-reported anger. The same correlation was not observed for trials with inconsistent stimuli that signalled gains. The implications of this finding and potential applications are discussed
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S14
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


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