We all are very much aware about the brain and are no stranger to the fact that brain is the main control centre of human body. Although brain functions are always seen in totality but it has various subparts that have their own very amazing functions. One such part of brain is amygdale.
The amygdala is an almond-shape set of neurons located deep in the brain’s medial temporal lobe. Amygdale shown to play a key role in the processsing of emotions, the amygdala forms part of the limbic system.
Functions of amygdala
The neurons of the amygdala respond to the flavors of favored foods, as well as the sights or even cooking sounds of the foods themselves. The cells of the amygdala produce large quantities of endorphins as well as various other hormones, and it is possibly through this effect that the person is able to represent the pleasure of the food before it has actually been taken. In humans and other animals, amygdale is linked to both fear responses and pleasure. Its size is positively correlated with aggressive behavior across species. In humans, it is the most sexually-dimorphic brain structure, and shrinks by more than 30% in males upon castration. Stimulation of the amygdala will produce penile erection, sexual sensation (lust), representations/memories of intercourse and orgasm.
What if the amygdale is damaged?
Rats, monkeys, cats and some grad students used in laboratory experiments have had their amygdalas destroyed on both sides. The main result is that of docility and absence of aggression. People who were once aggressive and violent have been rendered quite pleasant by destruction to their amygdalas. Similarly if the amygdale of human is damaged they too will show same response Bilateral lesion of amygdala also causes the individual to have impaired ability to interpret emotional aspect of facial expression. It has been linked to autism, where MRI has detected an increase in amygdala volume. Amygdala has a strong relationship with the social ability of a human being, although more studies is required to for the details.
Take home facts about amygdala :
The amygdala are activated in response to viewing faces and are thought to be involved in recognizing facial expressions.
Buddhist monks who practice compassion meditation have decreased activity in specific regions of the amygdala.
Activation of the amygdala has been shown to decrease trust (of others).
When you witness a car crash, argue with your spouse or get yelled at by your boss, it’s your amygdala’s job to set off a cascade of stress-related reactions.
People who describe themselves as ‘mindful’ showed less activation in the amygdala (and more activity in the areas that calm down emotional response, known as the prefrontal cortex
By – Nursing Tutor – Mrs. Deepika
Department of Nursing
College Of Nursing UCBMSH
Uttaranchal (P.G.) College Of Bio-Medical Sciences & Hospital