How the amygdala responds to viewing negative and subsequent neutral stimuli may impact our daily mood, according to new research published in JNeurosci.
The amygdala evaluates the environment to find potential threats. If a threat does appear, the amygdala can stay active and respond to new stimuli like they are threatening too. This is helpful when you are in a dangerous situation, but less so when spilling your coffee in the morning keeps you on edge for the rest of the day.
In a recent study, Puccetti et al. examined data collected from the "Midlife in the US" longitudinal study. Participants completed a psychological wellbeing assessment and eight daily telephone interviews to assess their mood. They also came into the lab for an fMRI task: they viewed negative, positive, and neutral images with a picture of a neutral facial expression in between each image.
When the amygdala activated in a similar pattern as the participants viewed negative images and the neutral faces that followed, this persistent activity predicted increases in negative daily mood and decreases in positive daily mood. In turn, participants who experienced increased positive mood displayed greater psychological wellbeing. These results suggest amygdala activity influences how a person feels day-to-day, which can impact overall psychological wellbeing.
Paper title: Linking Amygdala Persistence To Real-World Emotional Experience and Psychological Well-Being
JNeurosci, the Society for Neuroscience's first journal, was launched in 1981 as a means to communicate the findings of the highest quality neuroscience research to the growing field. Today, the journal remains committed to publishing cutting-edge neuroscience that will have an immediate and lasting scientific impact, while responding to authors' changing publishing needs, representing breadth of the field and diversity in authorship.
About The Society for Neuroscience
The Society for Neuroscience is the world's largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. The nonprofit organization, founded in 1969, now has nearly 37,000 members in more than 90 countries and over 130 chapters worldwide.