Human amygdala activity during the expression of fear responses

Dominic T. Cheng, David C. Knight, Christine N. Smith, Fred J. Helmstetter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The initial learning and subsequent behavioral expression of fear are often viewed as independent processes with potentially unique neural substrates. Laboratory animal studies of Pavlovian fear conditioning suggest that the amygdala is important for both forming stimulus associations and for subsequently expressing learned behavioral responses. In the present article, human amygdala activity was studied during the autonomic expression of conditional fear in two differential conditioning experiments with event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging and concurrent recording of skin conductance responses (SCRs). Trials were classified on the basis of individual participants' SCRs. Significant amygdala responding was detected only during trials on which a signal both predicted shock and elicited significant conditional SCR. Conditional stimulus presentation or autonomic activity alone was not sufficient. These results indicate that amygdala activity may specifically reflect the expression of learned fear responses and support the position that this region plays a central role in the expression of emotional reactions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1187-1195
Number of pages9
JournalBehavioral Neuroscience
Volume120
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2006

Fingerprint

Amygdala
Human Activities
Fear
Skin
Laboratory Animals
Shock
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Learning
Conditioning (Psychology)

Keywords

  • Amygdala
  • Emotion
  • Fear conditioning
  • fMRI
  • Memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology

Cite this

Cheng, D. T., Knight, D. C., Smith, C. N., & Helmstetter, F. J. (2006). Human amygdala activity during the expression of fear responses. Behavioral Neuroscience, 120(6), 1187-1195. https://doi.org/10.1037/0735-7044.120.5.1187

Human amygdala activity during the expression of fear responses. / Cheng, Dominic T.; Knight, David C.; Smith, Christine N.; Helmstetter, Fred J.

In: Behavioral Neuroscience, Vol. 120, No. 6, 12.2006, p. 1187-1195.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Cheng, DT, Knight, DC, Smith, CN & Helmstetter, FJ 2006, 'Human amygdala activity during the expression of fear responses', Behavioral Neuroscience, vol. 120, no. 6, pp. 1187-1195. https://doi.org/10.1037/0735-7044.120.5.1187
Cheng, Dominic T. ; Knight, David C. ; Smith, Christine N. ; Helmstetter, Fred J. / Human amygdala activity during the expression of fear responses. In: Behavioral Neuroscience. 2006 ; Vol. 120, No. 6. pp. 1187-1195.
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