The Neural Basis of Frustration State

Rongjun Yu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


From missing the bus to helplessly observing someone procure our taxi, daily life throws numerous obstacles in the path of our desired goals. Mammalian studies show that frustration is experienced when goal-directed activity is blocked. Using a newly developed multitrial reward schedule task combined with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we show that both proximity and expended effort modulated brain responses to blocked reward in regions implicated in animal models of reactive aggression, including the amygdala, midbrain periaqueductal gray (PAG), insula, and prefrontal cortex. These findings suggest that frustration may serve an energizing function, translating unfulfilled motivation into aggressive-like surges via a cortical, amygdala, and PAG network. These studies may enhance our understanding of the neuropsychological mechanisms of the frustration state and frustration-related mental disorders, such as pathological aggression.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNeuroimaging Personality, Social Cognition, and Character
EditorsJohn R. Absher, Jasmin Cloutier
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9780128009352
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2016

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Medicine(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Aggression
  • Amygdala
  • fMRI
  • Frustration
  • Midbrain


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