The All-Important Amygdala

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The amygdala is such an intriguing part of the brain; how can something so small have such a large impact on the daily lives of human beings. The amygdala is used for fear response, and without it, human beings behave fearlessly and unknowingly put themselves in dangerous situations. I think it is safe to say that humans are fortunate to possess this important brain structure...

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On a less precarious note, another function of the amygdala, as stated in the second article, is guiding humans' response to animals. Animals play such an important role in our everyday lives and many people feel they have close connections with their pets, and are often considered "animal lovers". In our culture today, a dog is often referred to as "man's best friend" and there are even websites devoted to pictures of cute and cuddly animals for users to view. I have never quite thought about humans' particular connection with animals and it makes me wonder; if one would call themselves an "animal lover", could this be seen in increased activity of the amygdala?

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You might be correct with the idea that animal lovers would show greater activation in the amygdala when shown pictures of animals or their own pet.

I would be willing to bet there are fMRI studies out there that support this hypothesis.

Yet being an animal lover likely involves many other supporting brain areas as well. It is simply logical to believe that humans have needed to be aware of animals in their environment, not only as pets but as sources of food, as helping in work like farming and transportation as well as watching out for potential predators.

There are probably very well worn and direct circuits leading from the amygdala to other brain area that specifically process information about animals.

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This page contains a single entry by grue0122 published on October 7, 2011 3:31 PM.

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