Right frontal brain activity, cortisol, and withdrawal behavior in 6-month-old infants

Kristin A. Buss, Jessica R. Malmstadt Schumacher, Isa Dolski, Ned H. Kalin, H. Hill Goldsmith, Richard J. Davidson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

202 Scopus citations


Although several studies have examined anterior asymmetric brain electrical activity and cortisol in infants, children, and adults, the direct association between asymmetry and cortisol has not systematically been reported. In nonhuman primates, greater relative right anterior activation has been associated with higher cortisol levels. The current study examines the relation between frontal electroencephalographic (EEG) asymmetry and cortisol (basal and reactive) and withdrawal-related behaviors (fear and sadness) in 6-month-old infants. As predicted, the authors found that higher basal and reactive cortisol levels were associated with extreme right EEG asymmetry. EEG during the withdrawal-negative affect task was associated with fear and sadness behaviors. Results are interpreted in the context of the previous primate work, and some putative mechanisms are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-20
Number of pages10
JournalBehavioral Neuroscience
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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