As you skim this press release, your amygdala is your best friend. "One of the critical functions of the human amygdala is to segregate the neural representations of the significant from the mundane," report Adam K. Anderson of Yale University, New Haven, and Elizabeth A. Phelps of New York University in this week's Nature (Vol. 411, No. 6835, 17 May 2001).
Anderson and Phelps showed healthy subjects and patients with amygdala lesions emotive words - such as 'rape' and 'house' - and neutral distractions - words like 'chrysanthemum' and 'kaleidoscope'. Healthy subjects are better at perceiving emotive words than neutral ones; the lesioned patients did not show this effect. The results reveal that the amygdala enhances our perception of stimuli that have emotional significance.
Adam K Anderson (currently at Stanford University)
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(C) Nature press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza
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