Format

Send to

Choose Destination
J Vis Exp. 2013 Jun 3;(76). doi: 10.3791/50212.

How to detect amygdala activity with magnetoencephalography using source imaging.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Abstract

In trace fear conditioning a conditional stimulus (CS) predicts the occurrence of the unconditional stimulus (UCS), which is presented after a brief stimulus free period (trace interval)(1). Because the CS and UCS do not co-occur temporally, the subject must maintain a representation of that CS during the trace interval. In humans, this type of learning requires awareness of the stimulus contingencies in order to bridge the trace interval(2-4). However when a face is used as a CS, subjects can implicitly learn to fear the face even in the absence of explicit awareness*. This suggests that there may be additional neural mechanisms capable of maintaining certain types of "biologically-relevant" stimuli during a brief trace interval. Given that the amygdala is involved in trace conditioning, and is sensitive to faces, it is possible that this structure can maintain a representation of a face CS during a brief trace interval. It is challenging to understand how the brain can associate an unperceived face with an aversive outcome, even though the two stimuli are separated in time. Furthermore investigations of this phenomenon are made difficult by two specific challenges. First, it is difficult to manipulate the subject's awareness of the visual stimuli. One common way to manipulate visual awareness is to use backward masking. In backward masking, a target stimulus is briefly presented (< 30 msec) and immediately followed by a presentation of an overlapping masking stimulus(5). The presentation of the mask renders the target invisible(6-8). Second, masking requires very rapid and precise timing making it difficult to investigate neural responses evoked by masked stimuli using many common approaches. Blood-oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) responses resolve at a timescale too slow for this type of methodology, and real time recording techniques like electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) have difficulties recovering signal from deep sources. However, there have been recent advances in the methods used to localize the neural sources of the MEG signal(9-11). By collecting high-resolution MRI images of the subject's brain, it is possible to create a source model based on individual neural anatomy. Using this model to "image" the sources of the MEG signal, it is possible to recover signal from deep subcortical structures, like the amygdala and the hippocampus*.

PMID:
23770774
PMCID:
PMC3726041
DOI:
10.3791/50212
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for MyJove Corporation Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center