Specialization of amygdala subregions in emotion processing

Labuschagne, Izelle, Dominguez, Juan, Grace, Sally ORCID: 0000-0003-1556-1292, Mizzi, Simone ORCID: 0000-0002-3346-566X, Henry, Julie D, Peters, Craig, Rabinak, Christine A, Sinclair, Erin, Lorenzetti, Valentina, Terrett, Gill, Rendell, Peter G, Pedersen, Mangor, Hocking, Darren ORCID: 0000-0003-1143-8190 and Heinrichs, Markus (2024) Specialization of amygdala subregions in emotion processing. Human Brain Mapping, 45 (5). ISSN 1065-9471


The amygdala is important for human fear processing. However, recent research has failed to reveal specificity, with evidence that the amygdala also responds to other emotions. A more nuanced understanding of the amygdala's role in emotion processing, particularly relating to fear, is needed given the importance of effective emotional functioning for everyday function and mental health. We studied 86 healthy participants (44 females), aged 18–49 (mean 26.12 ± 6.6) years, who underwent multiband functional magnetic resonance imaging. We specifically examined the reactivity of four amygdala subregions (using regions of interest analysis) and related brain connectivity networks (using generalized psycho-physiological interaction) to fear, angry, and happy facial stimuli using an emotional face-matching task. All amygdala subregions responded to all stimuli (p-FDR <.05), with this reactivity strongly driven by the superficial and centromedial amygdala (p-FDR <.001). Yet amygdala subregions selectively showed strong functional connectivity with other occipitotemporal and inferior frontal brain regions with particular sensitivity to fear recognition and strongly driven by the basolateral amygdala (p-FDR <.05). These findings suggest that amygdala specialization to fear may not be reflected in its local activity but in its connectivity with other brain regions within a specific face-processing network.

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Item type Article
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/47959
DOI 10.1002/hbm.26673
Official URL http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hbm.26673
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 5203 Clinical and health psychology
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Health and Sport
Keywords quadratic terms, motion derivatives, convergent processing
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