Science is beginning to provide new explanations about the ways that personality, age, gender and life experiences shape the way we feel [anger].
Scientists believe that the capacity for anger has been hardwired into the brain over millions of years of evolution. It forms part of our instinct to fight off threats, to compete for resources and to enforce social norms.
Men are, on average, more outwardly aggressive than women and so it might be assumed that they are also angrier. But this doesn’t appear to be the case. Research has consistently found that women experience anger as frequently and as intensely as men. Men who feel angry are more likely to display aggression, although this does not mean that women are not motivated by rage as frequently.
Our response to angry feelings depends on finely balanced communication between several brain regions. When this becomes disrupted, people’s behaviour can become unexpectedly aggressive.
Neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and particularly frontotemporal dementia, can result in damage to the brain’s frontal regions that inhibits our instinctive response to frustration and anger and also a breakdown in connections between this area and the amygdala.
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