The dynamic interactions between the amygdala and the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) are usefully conceptualized as a circuit that both allows us to react automatically to biologically relevant predictive stimuli as well as regulate these reactions when the situation calls for it. In this review, we will begin by discussing the role of this amygdala-mPFC circuitry in the conditioning and extinction of aversive learning in animals. We will then relate these data to emotional regulation paradigms in humans. Finally, we will consider how these processes are compromised in normal and pathological anxiety. We conclude that the capacity for efficient crosstalk between the amygdala and the mPFC, which is represented as the strength of the amygdala-mPFC circuitry, is crucial to beneficial outcomes in terms of reported anxiety.
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