Resting electroencephalogram asymmetry and posttraumatic stress disorder

Stewart A Shankman, Steven M. Silverstein, Leanne M. Williams, Patrick J. Hopkinson, Andrew H. Kemp, Kim L. Felmingham, Richard A. Bryant, Alexander McFarlane, C. Richard Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The valence-arousal (W. Heller, 1993) and approach-withdrawal (R. J. Davidson, 1998a) models hypothesize that particular patterns of hemispheric brain activity are associated with specific motivational tendencies and psychopathologies. We tested several of these predictions in two groups - a posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a "supercontrol" group, selected to be maximally different from those with PTSD. Contrary to almost all hypotheses, individuals with PTSD did not differ from controls on resting electroencephalogram (EEG) asymmetry. Particular aspects of PTSD were also not related to EEG hemisphere differences. Our null findings are consistent with the few studies that have examined resting EEG asymmetries in PTSD and suggest that PTSD may be associated with different processes than psychopathologies previously examined in studies of hemispheric brain activity (e.g., major depressive disorder, panic disorder).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)190-198
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Traumatic Stress
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology


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