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Amygdala refers to an important part of the limbic system composed of several mental processes located above the brain stem. The structure is compact and serves as an integrative hub for motivation, emotional behavior, and emotions (Amaral & Adolphs, 2016). The amygdala communication pathways, like the hippocampus, are bidirectional and include afferent and efferent fibers. As the processing center, the amygdala receives incoming messages for the internal organs and senses, and is consequently engaged in a variety of emotional responses. The structure stimulates emotions faster than conscious awareness, therefore shielding the body from harm by translating subconscious cues of a hazard into lightning rapid reactions (Amaral & Adolphs, 2016). Moreover, the organ recognizes and responds to subliminal signals of dangers as well as to negative emotions such as shame, envy, fear, guilt and grief.
The reaction to emotion entails various responses such as increased muscle tension, heart rates, and metabolism as well as getting the mind and body ready. Further, the amygdala can respond to the negative events in various ways comprising of activation of the sympathetic nervous system. It takes 300 milliseconds for the body to detect the disturbing event, but amygdala reacts within 20 milliseconds (Amaral & Adolphs, 2016). Through the responses of the amygdala, the body can cope with the emotional situations. One of the applications of the amygdala in life is the response to fear. When one has fear, the organ stimulates physical responses that make the mind and body ready for the flight which is the defense mechanism of preparing for the harm. However, amygdala takes the fearful situation and lets it go to avoid the post-trauma stress (Amaral & Adolphs, 2016). Also, the brain structure filters the memories that will be kept in the brain using distinct emotional reactions entailed with the memory.
Amaral, D., & Adolphs, R. (2016). Living without an amygdala. The Guilford Press.
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