Substantial similarity in amygdala neuronal activity during conditioned appetitive and aversive emotional arousal

Steven J. Shabel, Patricia H. Janak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

106 Scopus citations


The amygdala is important for determining the emotional significance of environmental stimuli. However, the degree to which appetitive and aversive stimuli are processed by the same or different neuronal circuits within the amygdala remains unclear. Here we show that neuronal activity during the expression of classically conditioned appetitive and aversive emotional responses is more similar than expected by chance, despite the different sensory modalities of the eliciting stimuli. We also found that the activity of a large number of cells (> 43%) was correlated with blood pressure, a measure of emotional arousal. Together, our results suggest that a substantial proportion of neuronal circuits within the amygdala can contribute to both appetitive and aversive emotional arousal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15031-15036
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number35
StatePublished - Sep 1 2009



  • Autonomic
  • Electrophysiology
  • Emotion
  • Fear
  • Pavlovian conditioning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this