Brief Communication abstract

Nature Neuroscience 12, 1226 - 1227 (2009)
Published online: 30 August 2009 | doi:10.1038/nn.2381

Personal space regulation by the human amygdala

Daniel P Kennedy1, Jan Gläscher1, J Michael Tyszka2 & Ralph Adolphs1,2


The amygdala plays key roles in emotion and social cognition, but how this translates to face-to-face interactions involving real people remains unknown. We found that an individual with complete amygdala lesions lacked any sense of personal space. Furthermore, healthy individuals showed amygdala activation upon close personal proximity. The amygdala may be required to trigger the strong emotional reactions normally following personal space violations, thus regulating interpersonal distance in humans.

  1. Division of Humanities and Social Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA.
  2. Division of Biology, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA.

Correspondence to: Daniel P Kennedy1 e-mail:


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