The Amygdala Is Essential For The Acquisition And Retention Of The Classically Conditioned Fear Response

Although amygdala lesions do not affect the acquisition or retention of eyeblink/NM classical conditioning, the amygdala is essential for the acquisition and retention of the classical conditioned fear response. For example, in rats, when a tone CS is paired with a shock US several times, a conditioned fear response develops. In other words, after pairing the CS will cause a fear response of freezing. The rat that has been conditioned will hold completely still when the CS is presented. Amygdala lesions completely prevent rats from learning or retaining this fear response. Thus, classical condition has revealed that the amygdala is a critical brain structure for emotional fear learning.

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