The Role of the Amygdala in the Extinction of Conditioned Fear

Mark Barad, Po Wu Gean, Beat Lutz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

119 Citations (Scopus)


The amygdala has long been known to play a central role in the acquisition and expression of fear. More recently, convergent evidence has implicated the amygdala in the extinction of fear as well. In rodents, some of this evidence comes from the infusion of drugs directly into the amygdala and, in particular, into the basolateral complex of the amygdala, during or after extinction learning. In vivo electrophysiology has identified cellular correlates of extinction learning and memory in the lateral nucleus of that structure. Human imaging experiments also indicate that amygdaloid activity correlates with extinction training. In addition, some studies have directly identified changes in molecular constituents of the basolateral amygdala. Together these experiments strongly indicate that the basolateral amygdala plays a crucial role in extinction learning. Interpreted in the light of these findings, several recent in vitro electrophysiology studies in amygdala-containing brain slices are suggestive of potential synaptic and circuit bases of extinction learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)322-328
Number of pages7
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Aug 15

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biological Psychiatry


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