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Nat Rev Neurosci. 2002 Jul;3(7):563-73.

The amygdala and reward.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Harvard University, 906 William James Hall, 33 Kirkland Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.


The amygdala -- an almond-shaped group of nuclei at the heart of the telencephalon -- has been associated with a range of cognitive functions, including emotion, learning, memory, attention and perception. Most current views of amygdala function emphasize its role in negative emotions, such as fear, and in linking negative emotions with other aspects of cognition, such as learning and memory. However, recent evidence supports a role for the amygdala in processing positive emotions as well as negative ones, including learning about the beneficial biological value of stimuli. Indeed, the amygdala's role in stimulus-reward learning might be just as important as its role in processing negative affect and fear conditioning.

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