Friday, August 15, 2014

The anatomy of fear and memory formation

“A huge number of genes and proteins are involved in new memory formation, and we’re trying to get at the basis of that,” says Emory psychiatrist Kerry Ressler. “One of the most powerful ways to study memory formation is through the process of fear-memory formation. And fear memories are also clinically very important because they underlie disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder and phobias.”

In the primitive brain region called the amygdala, fear looks much the same in a mouse as in a human, Kessler explains. “What the amygdala does, we know now through decades of work by many in the field, is it hard-wires neural connections to multiple subcortical and brain stem areas that lead to the hard-wired fear reflex of rapid breathing, sweating, increased heart rate and in some cases processes like a freezing response.”

Watch the above video to learn more.

Emory Medicine: The anatomy of fear 
Does lack of fear drive psychopaths?

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