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. 2010 Nov;20(11):2531-9.
doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhq001. Epub 2010 Jan 29.

Time Scales of Auditory Habituation in the Amygdala and Cerebral Cortex

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Time Scales of Auditory Habituation in the Amygdala and Cerebral Cortex

Isabella Mutschler et al. Cereb Cortex. .
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Habituation is a fundamental form of learning manifested by a decrement of neuronal responses to repeated sensory stimulation. In addition, habituation is also known to occur on the behavioral level, manifested by reduced emotional reactions to repeatedly presented affective stimuli. It is, however, not clear which brain areas show a decline in activity during repeated sensory stimulation on the same time scale as reduced valence and arousal experience and whether these areas can be delineated from other brain areas with habituation effects on faster or slower time scales. These questions were addressed using functional magnetic resonance imaging acquired during repeated stimulation with piano melodies. The magnitude of functional responses in the laterobasal amygdala and in related cortical areas and that of valence and arousal ratings, given after each music presentation, declined in parallel over the experiment. In contrast to this long-term habituation (43 min), short-term decreases occurring within seconds were found in the primary auditory cortex. Sustained responses that remained throughout the whole investigated time period were detected in the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex extending to the dorsal part of the anterior insular cortex. These findings identify an amygdalocortical network that forms the potential basis of affective habituation in humans.

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