The amygdala and reward

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2002 Jul;3(7):563-73. doi: 10.1038/nrn875.


The amygdala -- an almond-shaped group of nuclei at the heart of the telencephalon -- has been associated with a range of cognitive functions, including emotion, learning, memory, attention and perception. Most current views of amygdala function emphasize its role in negative emotions, such as fear, and in linking negative emotions with other aspects of cognition, such as learning and memory. However, recent evidence supports a role for the amygdala in processing positive emotions as well as negative ones, including learning about the beneficial biological value of stimuli. Indeed, the amygdala's role in stimulus-reward learning might be just as important as its role in processing negative affect and fear conditioning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Association
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Choice Behavior / physiology
  • Discrimination Learning / physiology
  • Haplorhini
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology
  • Rats
  • Reward*
  • Smell / physiology