In psychology and in general science, the amygdala is considered an especially important structure in the brain. The amygdala is thought to be responsible for the experience of strong negative emotion. Fear, in particular, is thought to be connected to the amygdala.
In some people, the amygdala does not function properly. Studying such people allows psychology experts to examine the role of the brain structure in a number of fear-related reactions.
This is something that can be used to help a wide range of people, but it is especially relevant for people who have anxiety-related illnesses. People with conditions like generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), panic disorder, and clinically diagnosed phobias could benefit immensely from the study of fear regulation and responses to fear in the body.
The findings of a recent study are described in an article for the New York Times. The study was meant to focus on how scientists could create the emotion of fear in individuals who are thought to be incapable of experiencing it. The participants were a few people who had damage to their amygdala.
The people in the study did not have a fear reaction to traditionally “scary” images and video footage they were shown.
Click the link below to find out how the researchers were able to create fear in these supposedly fearless participants and what the implications are for people with panic disorder.