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Nat Neurosci. 2009 Oct;12(10):1224-5. doi: 10.1038/nn.2380. Epub 2009 Aug 30.

Intact rapid detection of fearful faces in the absence of the amygdala.

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  • 1Division of Humanities and Social Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA.


The amygdala is thought to process fear-related stimuli rapidly and nonconsciously. We found that an individual with complete bilateral amygdala lesions, who cannot recognize fear from faces, nonetheless showed normal rapid detection and nonconscious processing of those same fearful faces. We conclude that the amygdala is not essential for early stages of fear processing but, instead, modulates recognition and social judgment.

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