Fear generalization in the primate amygdala

Nat Neurosci. 2015 Feb;18(2):188-90. doi: 10.1038/nn.3900. Epub 2014 Dec 22.


Broad generalization of negative memories is a potential etiology for anxiety disorders, yet the underlying mechanisms remain unknown. We developed a non-human primate model that replicates behavioral observations in humans and identifies specific changes in tuning properties of amygdala neurons: the width of auditory tuning increases with the distance of its center from the conditioned stimulus. This center-width relationship can account for better detection and at the same time explain the wide stimulus generalization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Basolateral Nuclear Complex / cytology
  • Basolateral Nuclear Complex / physiology*
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Conditioning, Classical / physiology
  • Fear / physiology*
  • Generalization, Psychological / physiology*
  • Macaca mulatta / physiology*
  • Male
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Olfactory Perception / physiology