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A category-specific response to animals in the right human amygdala

Nature Neuroscience volume 14, pages 12471249 (2011) | Download Citation

Abstract

The amygdala is important in emotion, but it remains unknown whether it is specialized for certain stimulus categories. We analyzed responses recorded from 489 single neurons in the amygdalae of 41 neurosurgical patients and found a categorical selectivity for pictures of animals in the right amygdala. This selectivity appeared to be independent of emotional valence or arousal and may reflect the importance that animals held throughout our evolutionary past.

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Acknowledgements

We thank all of our subjects for their participation, E. Behnke, T. Fields, E. Ho, V. Isiaka, E. Isham, K. Laird, N. Parikshak and A. Postolova for technical assistance with the electrophysiological recordings, and D. Tsao, I. Riedel-Kruse, U. Rutishauser and K. Fliessbach for useful discussion and comments on the manuscript. This research was supported by grants from the European Commission (Marie Curie OIF 040445, to F.M.), World Class University program through the National Research Foundation of Korea funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (R31-10008, to C.K.), the US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the G. Harold and Leila Y. Mathers Foundation, the Gimbel Discovery Fund, and the Dana Foundation.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Division of Biology, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA.

    • Florian Mormann
    • , Julien Dubois
    • , Simon Kornblith
    • , Milica Milosavljevic
    • , Moran Cerf
    • , Naotsugu Tsuchiya
    • , Alexander Kraskov
    • , Rodrigo Quian Quiroga
    • , Ralph Adolphs
    •  & Christof Koch
  2. Department of Neurosurgery and Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA.

    • Florian Mormann
    • , Moran Cerf
    • , Matias Ison
    •  & Itzhak Fried
  3. Department of Epileptology, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany.

    • Florian Mormann
  4. Department of Engineering, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK.

    • Matias Ison
    •  & Rodrigo Quian Quiroga
  5. University College London Institute of Neurology, London, UK.

    • Alexander Kraskov
  6. Functional Neurosurgery Unit, Tel-Aviv Medical Center and Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel.

    • Itzhak Fried
  7. Department of Brain and Cognitive Engineering, Korea University, Seoul, South Korea.

    • Christof Koch

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Contributions

F.M., S.K., R.Q.Q., I.F. and C.K. designed the electrophysiology study. I.F. carried out all of the neurosurgical procedures. F.M., M.C., M.I., R.Q.Q., A.K. and I.F. collected the electrophysiological data, and S.K. and F.M. analyzed the electrophysiological data. F.M., N.T., M.M., C.K. and R.A. designed the fMRI control experiment, F.M., M.M., J.D. and N.T. collected the fMRI data, and J.D. and F.M. analyzed the fMRI data. F.M., R.A. and C.K. wrote the paper. All of the authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Florian Mormann.

Supplementary information

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    Supplementary Text and Figures

    Supplementary Figures 1–12, Supplementary Methods, Supplementary Results, Supplementary Control Analyses and SupSupplementary Discussion

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.2899

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