Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Neuropsychologia. 2011 Apr;49(5):1302-1305. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2011.02.032. Epub 2011 Feb 21.

Automatic relevance detection in the absence of a functional amygdala.

Author information

1
Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, University College London, United Kingdom. Electronic address: d.bach@fil.ion.ucl.ac.uk.
2
Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, University College London, United Kingdom; School of Psychological Sciences, University of Manchester, United Kingdom.
3
Department of Psychiatry, University of Bonn, Germany.
4
Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, University College London, United Kingdom.

Abstract

The idea that the amygdala is crucially involved in automatically prioritising relevant events rests on evidence from a single lesion study where a patient with bilateral temporal lobe lesions, acquired in adulthood, was impaired in recall facilitation during the attentional blink. Here, in a comparable task, we show that two individuals with selective bilateral amygdala lesions retain facilitated recall of aversive words during the attentional blink. Recall facilitation was statistically significant for both patients and akin to that seen in young students and age- and education-matched controls. This challenges the amygdala's role as a crucial hub in prioritising attention and at a minimum implies that this role can be compensated for when lesions are acquired early in life. Previous findings might be explained by the described fact that lesions were acquired later in life and encompassed areas beyond the amygdala, including visual pathways. We propose that in the absence of a functioning amygdala, prioritised visual processing may rely on alternative structures such as pulvinar and cortical visual areas.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center