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Amygdala by Mind Map: Amygdala
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Right amygdala

Involved in taking actions as response to stressful stimuli More involved in negative emotions

Left amygdala

Involved in thought as response to stressful stimuli Involved in recalling details


Karl Friedrich Burdach

Named in 1819 an almond-shaped cell mass in the temporal lobe, which is now known as the basolateral complex, the amygdala

Kluver and Bucy

They observed that lesions to both temporal lobes resulted in profound changes in fear reactivity, feeding, and sexual behavior

John Downer

His experiments with rhesus monkeys demonstrated the importance of the amygdala in assigning emotional significance to sensory information

Lawrence Weiskrantz

Lesions to the amygdala lead to the disappearance of fear responses

Alheid and Heimer

They argued for the concept of an extended amygdala where the central and medial nucleus form a continuous structure with the bed nucleus of the stria termnalis

Swanson and Petrovich

They claim there is no need to refer to the amygdala as a functional nor as a structural unit within the brain

Mortimer Mishkin

Some of the behavioral symptoms observed in the past could be due to imprecise surgical procedures, however the amygdala is still crucial for the normal regulation of emotions

Ralph Adolphs

People with severely impaired amygdaele have difficulty recognizing emotional expressions particularly from faces that are expressing fear

Joseph Ledoux

Developed an animal model of fear conditioning describing two distinct amygdala pathways which he called the low road and the high road

James McGaugh

Performed research on how emotional arousal influences memory consolidation, where the amygdala appears to play a key role

Paul Whalen

Claims that the amygdala is not the fear center of the brain. It's an attentional area involved in detecting ambiguous stimuli that are potentially threatening

Main Groups of Nuclei

Basolateral nuclei

Main input station of the amygdala

Largest collection of nuclei in the amygdala

Has output connections to the striatum ventrale and the dorsal-medial nucleus of the thalamus

Involved in memory consolidation

Evolutionary newer part of the amygdala and associated with the neocortex

Comprises the lateral nucleus, the basal nucleus, and the accessory basal nucleus

Corticomedial nuclei

Interacts with the hypothalamus related to appetitive states

Associated with the olfactory system

Evolutionary older part of the amygdala

Central nuclei

Main output station of the amygdala

Smallest collection of nuclei in the amgdala

Has outpunt connections to the lateral hypothalamus and the brain stem

Produces automatic emotional responses

Major Pathways

These projections connect the amygdala with several other important brain structures.

Ventral amygdalofugal pathway

The shortcut Involved in associative learning

Nucleus accumbens

Septal area



Association areas of the cortex

Brain stem

Stria terminalis

The long way around Projects only to subcortical structures Similar in form, function, and location as the fornix for the hippocampal pathway


Septal area


Contralateral amygdala

Direct connections


Entorhinal cortex

Dorsomedial thalamus

Brain stem

"Abnormal" functioning

Could be the result of developmental problems, neurotranmitter imbalance or damage.



Post-traumatic stres disorder



Generalized anxiety disorder

The amygdala is normally active, but the prefrontal cortex is unable to calm her down.

Klüver–Bucy syndrome

amnesia hyperphagia hyperorality hypersexuality docility visual agnosia

Urbach-Wiethe disease

Bilateral damage to the medial temporal lobes Disruption in recognizing emotional expressions and in emotional learning

Flat affect

Emotions are blunted, impaired, or absent usually caused by.

Amygdala hijack

Term coined by Daniel Goleman When the hippocampus signals a fight or flight situation, the amygdala triggers the HPA axis which hijacks the rational brain.


Comprises a group of more than 10 nuclei located near the hippocampus in the middel of the temporal lobe

One of the most important subcortical brain structures involved in emotion

Complex vertebrates have two amygdaele, one in each hemisphere

Considered to be a part of the limbic system

The idea of a functionally unified limbic system is grounded on historical concepts of brain anatomy. These concepts are no longer considered to be accurate. It's a group of structures loosely working together in relation to memory and emotion and not a completely integrated system as the name would suggest.

Random Facts

While dreaming the pons can activate the amygdala giving the dream an emotional content

There is a correlation between sexual orientation and amygdala activity

In humans, the amygdala is the most sexually-dimorphic brain structure

When males are castrated the amygdala shrinks by more than 30%

The intercalated cell clusters are important for inhibitory control over the amygdala

The size is positively correlated with aggressive behavior across species

Became in the last decade one of the most heavily studied brain areas

According to Jaak Panksepp the amygdala participates mostly in the emotional systems of FEAR, RAGE and LUST

Main Functions

Plays an important role in emotion, memory, homeostasis and olfaction

Responsible for assigning emotional significance or value to sensory information

Plays a primary role in the formation and storage of memories associated with emotional events

Involved in fear conditioning and reward processing

Involved in memory consolidation

Very responsive to the facial expressions of others

Plays a role in prioritizing information processing and allocation of attention

Responsible for fight or flight reactions


The Human Amygdala

Emotional Intelligence

The Emotional Brain Revisited