Cerebral Delights

Cerebral Delights

The amygdala, a part of the brain known for its role in fear, also helps people spot rewards — and go after them
By Susan Gaidos February 26th, 2011; Vol.179 #5 (p. 22)

You know the feeling — the flush of excitement when your boss hands you a bonus check, or you unexpectedly run into an old friend, or you discover a way to get tickets to the big game that was long ago sold out. When life throws you a gift or a gain, it’s not just your mood that perks up. Two small almond-shaped masses of nerve cells buried deep in your brain take notice too. Those clumps of cells, one on each side of the brain, are known as the amygdala (uh-MIG-duh-luh).

For years the amygdala has been regarded primarily as the brain’s center for fear. Scores of studies have shown that it is essential both for perceiving fear and expressing it. In recent years, though, a surge of new research has expanded scientists’ view of the amygdala’s importance. It turns out that the amygdala helps shape behavior in response to all sorts of stimuli, bad and good. It plays a role not only in aversion to fright, but also in pursuit of pleasure.

Read more…


This entry was posted in clicker training, Learning Theory and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s