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A Stable Sparse Fear Memory Trace in Human Amygdala

Bach, DR; Weiskopf, N; Dolan, RJ; (2011) A Stable Sparse Fear Memory Trace in Human Amygdala. Journal of Neuroscience , 31 (25) 9383 - 9389. 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1524-11.2011. Green open access

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Abstract

Pavlovian fear conditioning is highly conserved across species, providing a powerful model of aversive learning. In rodents, fear memory is stored and reactivated under the influence of the amygdala. There is no evidence for an equivalent mechanism in primates, and an opposite mechanism is proposed whereby primate amygdala contributes only to an initial phase of aversive learning, subsequently ceding fear memory to extra-amygdalar regions. Here, we reexamine this question by exploiting human high-resolution functional magnetic resonance imaging in conjunction with multivariate methods. By assuming a sparse neural coding, we show it is possible, at an individual subject level, to discriminate responses to conditioned (CS+ and CS-) stimuli in both basolateral and centro-cortical amygdala nuclei. The strength of this discrimination increased over time and was tightly coupled to the behavioral expression of fear, consistent with an expression of a stable fear memory trace. These data highlight that the human basolateral and centro-cortical amygdala support initial learning as well more enduring fear memory storage. A sparse neuronal representation for fear, here revealed by multivariate pattern classification, resolves why an enduring memory trace has proven elusive in previous human studies.

Type: Article
Title: A Stable Sparse Fear Memory Trace in Human Amygdala
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1524-11.2011
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1524-11.2011
Language: English
Additional information: This work is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0). This agreement allows data and text mining, use of figures in presentations, and posting the article online, as long as the original article is attributed.
Keywords: SKIN-CONDUCTANCE RESPONSES, EVENT-RELATED FMRI, CONDITIONED FEAR, POTENTIATED STARTLE, BASOLATERAL AMYGDALA, NEUROTOXIC LESIONS, PRIMATE AMYGDALA, NEURAL RESPONSES, PATTERN-ANALYSIS, CENTRAL NUCLEUS
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1314882
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