Valence coding in amygdala circuits

Curr Opin Behav Sci. 2019 Apr;26:97-106. doi: 10.1016/j.cobeha.2018.10.010. Epub 2018 Dec 15.


The neural mechanisms underlying emotional valence are at the interface between perception and action, integrating inputs from the external environment with past experiences to guide the behavior of an organism. Depending on the positive or negative valence assigned to an environmental stimulus, the organism will approach or avoid the source of the stimulus. Multiple convergent studies have demonstrated that the amygdala complex is a critical node of the circuits assigning valence. Here we examine the current progress in identifying valence coding properties of neural populations in different nuclei of the amygdala, based on their activity, connectivity, and gene expression profile.