Hemispheric differences in amygdala contributions to response monitoring

Neuroreport. 2009 Mar 4;20(4):398-402. doi: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e328324edb8.


The amygdala detects aversive events and coordinates with the rostral anterior cingulate cortex to adapt behavior. We assessed error-related activation in these regions and its relation to task performance using functional MRI and a saccadic paradigm. Both amygdalae showed increased activation during error versus correct antisaccade trials that was correlated with error-related activation in the corresponding rostral anterior cingulate cortex. Together, activation in the right amygdala and right rostral anterior cingulate cortex predicted greater accuracy. In contrast, the left amygdala activation predicted a higher error rate. These findings support a role for the amygdala in response monitoring. Consistent with proposed specializations of the right and left amygdala in aversive conditioning, we hypothesize that right amygdala-rostral anterior cingulate cortex interactions mediate learning to avoid errors, whereas left error-related amygdala activation underpins detrimental negative affect.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amygdala / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology
  • Functional Laterality*
  • Gyrus Cinguli / physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Regression Analysis