Parallel neural responses in amygdala subregions and sensory cortex during implicit fear conditioning

Neuroimage. 2001 Jun;13(6 Pt 1):1044-52. doi: 10.1006/nimg.2000.0721.


We used event-related fMRI to measure neural activity in volunteer subjects during acquisition of an implicit association between a visual conditioned stimulus (CS+) (angry face) and an auditory unconditioned stimulus (UCS) (aversive, loud noise). Three distinct functional regions were identified within left amygdala: a UCS (noise)-related lateral region, a CS+-related ventral region, and a dorsal region where CS+-related responses changed progressively across the learning session. Differential neural responses to the visual CS+ were also evoked in extrastriate and auditory cortices. Our results indicate that learning an association between biologically salient stimuli of different sensory modalities involves parallel changes of neural activity in segregated amygdala subregions and unimodal sensory cortices.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amygdala / physiology*
  • Association Learning / physiology
  • Auditory Cortex / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Conditioning, Classical / physiology*
  • Facial Expression
  • Fear / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Cortex / physiology