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Explain how neuroscience research with humans and animals has advanced our understanding of the role of the amygdala in fear processing - Essay Example

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Much more is understood in regards to the physiological and metabolic effects of fear than a mechanistic determination of the precise brain…
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Explain how neuroscience research with humans and animals has advanced our understanding of the role of the amygdala in fear processing
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Download file to see previous pages stifications for the fear/panic response is an evolutionary self-preservation mechanism with the obvious intent of preserving the organisms safety in situations of predation or other forms of physical danger. (Holt, 2008) the essentials of the mechanism that initiates the fear/panic response appears to be rooted in a signaling process directed towards the amygdala. This region upon receiving the signal appears to demonstrate a priority stimulus, by which the relative importance of a particular external phenomena is impressed into a neural cellular pattern that can trigger emotion – based responses. This would include the fight or flight mechanism, common to virtually all chordates, including humans. (Blanchard, 2008) as well as other emotional states that are responsible for the regulation of the appropriate endocrine functions that would permit the appropriate response, such as increased output in the adrenal glands for instance.
Researchers have found over the years that while a particular unpleasant stimulus can trigger the fear response in the amygdala of humans and other mammals, there is also the possibility of a fear stimulus based simply on the threat of an event; through the mechanism of fear conditioning. The fear response has been studied in regards to the contributions of the human amygdala; which demonstrates involvement at all stages of fear/panic conditioning or phobia acquisition. (Delgado et al. 2006) Classical studies have warned human subjects that a particular color presentation will presage a mild electric shock to the wrist, and the reactions garnered from the subjects prove that in humans physiological conditioning to fear can be easily achieved, in a process called instruction acquisition. (Hugdahl & Ohman, 1977) Activity in the left amygdala could be measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging even though during the course of the study, none of the subjects actually received the mild electric shock to the wrist that they were ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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