A unique role for the human amygdala in novelty detection

Neuroimage. 2010 Apr 15;50(3):1188-93. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2009.12.083. Epub 2010 Jan 4.


Previous research indicates that the amygdala and hippocampus are sensitive to novelty; however, two types of novelty can be distinguished - stimuli that are ordinary, but novel in the current context, and stimuli that are unusual. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we examined blood oxygen dependent level (BOLD) response of the human amygdala and hippocampus to novel, commonly seen objects versus novel unusual objects. When presented with the novel common stimuli, the BOLD signal increased significantly in both the amygdala and hippocampus. However, for the novel unusual stimuli, only the amygdala showed an increased response compared to the novel common stimuli. These findings suggest that the amygdala is distinctly responsive to novel unusual stimuli, making a unique contribution to the novelty detection circuit.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / blood supply
  • Amygdala / physiology*
  • Brain / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / blood supply
  • Hippocampus / physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Recognition, Psychology / physiology*
  • Young Adult


  • Oxygen