When you see somebody you hate, whether it’s an evil ex or a mean colleague, your brain undergoes a rather unexpected transformation.
A new study published in PLoS One today reveals that hatred isn’t the blind, irrational emotion it might seem. In fact, hate activates the brain regions associated with higher reason and the ability to predict what other people will do.
British neuroscientists did MRI brain scans of subjects while they looked at pictures of people they claimed to hate. As a baseline, they also showed them pictures of people they felt neutrally about.
Not surprisingly, hatred activated the regions of the brain associated with aggression and the motor regions that would translate this aggression into action.
And given that love often turns into hate, it’s not too surprising that hatred also activates two brain regions, the putamen and the insula, associated with passionate, romantic love.
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