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Amygdala

Synonyms

Definition

The amygdala is an almond-shaped structure located at the anterior medial portion of the temporal lobe of the brain. It is involved in the perception of emotional and affective stimuli and is therefore considered to be a part of the limbic system.

Description

The word "amygdala" derives from the Greek word for almond, the most common description given to the shape of this structure. Anatomically, the amygdala is a mass of gray matter composed of a collection of nuclei located anterior to the hippocampus and medial to the hypothalamus in the temporal lobe of the brain.

The amygdala receives input from various senses: olfactory, visual, somatosensory and gustatory. It then relays information to other areas of the brain such as the frontal and prefrontal cortex, orbitofrontal cortex, hypothalamus, hippocampus and brain stem nuclei. These connections help control the emotional and physiological