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Positive and negative emotional verbal stimuli elicit activity in the left amygdala

Department of Psychology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Neuroreport (Impact Factor: 1.64). 02/2002; 13(1):15-9. DOI: 10.1097/00001756-200201210-00008
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The human amygdala's involvement in negative emotion is well established, but relatively little is known regarding its role in positive emotion. Here we examined the neural response to emotionally positive, negative, and neutral words using fMRI. Relative to neutral words, positive and negative emotional words elicited greater activity in the left amygdala. Positive but not negative words elicited activity in dorsal and ventral striatal regions which have been linked in previous neuroimaging studies to reward and positive affect, including caudate, putamen, globus pallidus, and accumbens. These findings provide the first direct evidence that the amygdala is involved in emotional reactions elicited by both positive and negative emotional words, and further indicate that positive words additionally activate brain regions related to reward.

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