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Neuroscience of irritability 

Neuroscience of irritability
Neuroscience of irritability

Argyris Stringaris

and Eric Taylor

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date: 10 December 2019

Only recently has human irritability become the topic of neuroscience research. However, decades of research into anger and animal models of aggression may prove useful for understanding how irritability is elicited in humans. This chapter discusses how findings about the threat network relate to anger and why little is still understood about the neural underpinnings of the distinction between anger and other negative emotions. Findings are presented about cognitive flexibility and frustrative non-reward and how environmental contingencies calculated in the orbitofrontal cortex may influence the expression of anger. Yet, irritability expresses itself as a mood and therefore a long-lasting propensity for emotional reactions. Possible neurochemical changes that may underlie inter-individual differences and their current limitations in clinical practice are discussed.

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