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Reply #22: Here's some stuff from an article... [View All]

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rasputin1952 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-29-10 08:49 AM
Response to Reply #6
22. Here's some stuff from an article...
Edited on Wed Dec-29-10 08:50 AM by rasputin1952
<snip>

In addition to its role in emotion and unconscious emotional memory, the amygdala is also involved in the regulation or modulation of a variety of cognitive functions, such as attention, perception, and explicit memory. It is generally thought that these cognitive functions are modulated by the amygdala's processing of the emotional significance of external stimuli. Outputs of the amygdala then lead to the release of hormones and/or neuromodulators in the brain that then alter cognitive processing in cortical areas. For example, via amygdala outputs that ultimately affect the hippocampus, explicit memories about emotional situations are enhanced. For example, glucocorticoid hormone released into the blood stream via amygdala activity travels to the brain and then binds to neurons in the basal amygdala. The latter then connects to the hippocampus to enhance explicit memory. There is also evidence that the amygdala can, through direct neural connections, modulate the function of cortical areas.

Over the past decade, interest in the human amygdala has grown considerably, spurred on by the progress in animal studies and by the development of functional imaging techniques. As in the animal brain, damage to the human amygdala interferes with fear conditioning and functional activity changes in the human amygdala in response to fear conditioning. Further, exposure to emotional faces potently activates the human amygdala. Both conditioned stimuli and emotional faces produce strong amygdala activation when presented unconsciously, emphasizing the importance of the amygdala as an implicit information processor and its role in unconscious memory. Studies of humans and non-human primates also implicate the amygdala in social behavior. Findings regarding the human amygdala are mainly at the level of the whole region rather than nuclei.

Structural and/or functional changes in the amygdala are associated with a wide variety of psychiatric conditions in humans. Included are various anxiety disorders (PTSD, phobia, and panic), depression, schizophrenia, and autism, to name a few. This does not mean that amygdala causes these disorders. It simply means that in people who have these disorders alterations occur in the amygdala. Because each of these disorders involves fear and anxiety to some extent, the involvement of the amygdala in some of these disorders may be related to the increased anxiety in these patients.

<snip>

http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Amygdala

Interesting link, goes into Pavlovian responses and a few other aspects, and while scientific, it is understandable to the layman...graphics in article.
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