Hate in the Brain


I googled hatred because I had no idea what to write about for my third blog. After I scrolled through the several definitions I found an aritcle from Scientific American about the neurological connection between love and hate. It turns out that after some preliminary research into the origin of hatred in the brain, researchers had found a connection to the origin of Love.

frontal cortex

Researchers wanted to find the neurological origination of hatred. To achieve this they performed Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) tests on seventeen adults to see where hatred appeared.  The brains of these participants were scanned while they looked at a person that they said they hated. In all of them the frontal cortex was where the hatred originated with parts of the medial frontal gyrus, the right putamen, the premotor cortex, and the medial insula being activated.

Unsurprisingly parts of this wide range of places are involved in activating agressive behavior. However the actual feelings of aggression themselves came from different parts of the brain. Other noteworthy feelings that didn’t originate in the same place are anger, danger and fear.

The most surprising aspect of this research however was that the areas of the putamen and insula that were activated by the picture of someone that the subjects hate, are also activated by love. This surprising discovery may explain why love and hate are so close to each other and why we as humans can experience both emotions in regards to someone or something.

This research is still preliminary and it does not prove that love and hate are connected in the brain, but it does raise some interesting questions about their relationship. Does this explain the phrase love/hate relationship? Could this be the reason why these two powerful emotions seem to have such a close relationship?




Hatred Synonyms and Antonyms



  • alienation
  • animosity
  • bitterness
  • contempt
  • disgust
  • distaste
  • enmity
  • envy
  • grudge
  • horror
  • hostility
  • ill will
  • loathing
  • malice
  • prejudice
  • rancor
  • revulsion
  • abhorrence


  • admiration
  • approval
  • desire
  • esteem
  • forgiveness
  • friendliness
  • friendship

The synonym that is closest to hatred is loathing, because hatred is in essence loathing someone to the extreme. Hostility is another close one because a person that you hate you may also be hostile towards. Prejudice is another good choice because prejudices stem from hatred.



hatred-etymology2The word hatred developed from the word hate, and first appeared during the thirteenth century. Hate developed from several northern European languages. The verb “to hate” appeared as hatian in Old English, hatajanan in Proto-Germanic, haton in Old Saxon, hata in Old Norse, hassen in German, and hatan in the Gothic language. The noun “hate” developed from hete in Old English, hatis in Proto-Germanic, hattr in Old Norse, hat in Old Frisian, haat in Dutch, has in Old High German, hass in German, and hatis in Gothic. In Middle English the verb and noun of hate are conformed. Hatred is a combination of hate and the rare suffix -red from the Old English word raeden, meaning state or condition. Hate was expanded in 1967 when the phrase “hate mail” appeared. Hate was further expanded in 1988 when the phrase “hate crime” was first used. Hatred developed from many European languages, with the most influence coming from Old English.