A number of recent papers have suggested that the amygdala plays a role in the brain's novelty detection circuit. In a recent study, we showed that this role may be specific to certain classes of biologically-relevant stimuli, such as human faces. The purpose of the present experiment was to determine whether other biologically-relevant stimuli also evoke novelty specific amygdala responses. To test this idea, we presented novel and repeated images of snakes and flowers while measuring BOLD. Surprisingly, we found that novel images of snakes and flowers evoke more amygdala activity than repeated images of snakes and flowers. Our results further confirm the robustness of the novelty evoked amygdala responses, even when compared with effects more traditionally associated with the amygdala. In addition, our results suggest that threatening stimuli may prime the amygdala to respond to other types of stimuli as well. © 2013 Balderston et al.
Balderston, N. L., Schultz, D. H., & Helmstetter, F. J. (2013). The Effect of Threat on Novelty Evoked Amygdala Responses. PLoS ONE, 8(5). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0063220