Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Amygdala in 5 Minutes

The amygdala creates links between sensory input and reactions to that input. Think Pavlov's dogs. While associating the sound of a bell to the body's hunger responses, like salivation, is fairly benign, the amygdala is also the structure that associates the kaboom of a bomb to the emotional response of seeing the horror wreaked by that bomb. Worse, while the dogs took a little training to make the association stick, trauma burns that connection into the amygdala in an instant. This is how it happens that a person who was eating a banana when they got shattering news that made them throw up can end up turning green at the smell of a banana.

Neuroscience professor Joseph LeDoux explains the amygdala:

No comments:

Post a Comment