Is left frontal brain activation in defensiveness gender specific?

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75 Scopus citations


A. J. Tomarken and R. J. Davidson (1994) reported that defensiveness is characterized by relative left frontal brain activation. Because they examined only women, gender differences in this relation are possible. In the present study, resting alpha asymmetries in right-handed men (n = 25) and women (n = 60) were related to defensiveness, measured by the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire L scale. These results were similar to those of Tomarken and Davidson in that defensiveness correlated positively with relative left frontal activation in women. An unexpected finding was that high-defensive men showed relative right frontal activation, a result virtually opposite that for women. These results imply that the nature of defensiveness as a coping strategy may vary as a function of gender.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-153
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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