Mechanisms of Pavlovian fear conditioning: has the engram been located?

Trends Neurosci. 2002 Sep;25(9):436-7; discussion 437-8. doi: 10.1016/s0166-2236(02)02243-9.


Uncertainty persists as to whether the amygdala is a crucial site of plasticity for classically conditioned fear or merely a sensory relay to structures generating fear responses. A recent Nature study suggests that associative synaptic changes take place in neurons of the amygdala during fear conditioning, and that these changes require dopamine-mediated modulation. Nevertheless, these findings do not prove that the amygdala is a sufficient site of plasticity for fear memory.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / physiology
  • Animals
  • Conditioning, Psychological*
  • Fear / physiology
  • Fear / psychology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology