Blame it on the A a a a a Amygdala

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The amygdala, an almond shaped group of nuclei in the brain, is famous for its emotional capacities, and the memory of such capacities. Most common traits are that of fight or flight, fear, stimuli and the memory of those stimuli. But another aspect of the amgydala, that is not so commonly known or discussed, is it's effects on the actions of young adults or adolescents. Let me explain...

All young adults or teens under-go a neural process called synaptic pruning, or maturation of complex neural structures. Before this happens, young adults have lesser capacities of planning and judgement and are more likely to act in fits of impulse or riskiness. The amygdala, associated with emotion and the prefrontal cortex associated with judgement play key roles in this process because of their influences on behavior.

What interests me, is the concept of binge drinking and the emotional value it is given with the amygdala. It is averaged that 2 out of 5 college students, or 40% involve themselves in binge drinking as a social activity. That's quite a lot of alcohol if you really think about it. Because young adults are more likely to involve themselves in risky behavior because it is seen as socially acceptable, and because the amygdala is in charge of emotions, wouldn't it make sense if binge drinking was attributed to the amygdala?

Well, an experiment was conducted by researchers from Maryland and Vienna, Austria testing the genes and traits in the amygdala and the causation of acts of repeated binge drinking. The results were as follows: don't blame it on the alcohol Jamie, Blame it on the A-a-a-a-a-Amygdala.

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2011/02/23/1019020108.full.pdf+html
Binge Drinking.jpg

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The title of this post is genius. In fact, it's what led me to read more about what you had to say about the amygdala and the "fight or flight" stimulus. You brought up a very interesting point about the consumption of alcohol possibly being correlated with activity in the amygdala. This leads me to believe then that other forms of risky, social behavior could also be equally as correlated. Perhaps things such as the consumption of recreational drugs, activities that produce loads of adrenaline such as the famous Homecoming trend of TPing. Thanks for thinking outside of the box and bringing this to my attention!

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This page contains a single entry by byexx105 published on October 9, 2011 7:54 PM.

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