The functional role of individual-alpha based frontal asymmetry in stress responding

C. W. E. M. Quaedflieg, T. Meyer, F. T. Y. Smulders, T. Smeets

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)


Asymmetry in frontal electrical activity has been suggested to index tendencies in affective responding and thus may be associated with hormonal stress responses. To assess the functional role of frontal asymmetry (FA) in stress, we measured FA at rest and following exposure to acute stress induced with the Maastricht Acute Stress Task (MAST; N=70) in the standard 8-13Hz band as well as based on individual alpha frequency (IAF) band. IAF-based resting FAF4-F3 was associated with the stress-induced neuroendocrine response, such that left individual frontal activity predicted smaller total cortisol increases in response to the MAST. Like previous studies, we found resting left-sided FAF8-F7 to predict trait behavioural activation measured with the BIS/BAS scales. FA remained unaffected by stress-induced cortisol response. These findings suggest that individual FA might reflect a trait-like characteristic that moderates the stress response. Our results underscore the utility of IAF in studying individual differences in stress responding.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-81
JournalBiological Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


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