Elsevier, Brain and Cognition, 3(61), p. 243-248
It has been argued that critical functions of the human amygdala are to modulate the moment-to-moment vigilance level and to enhance the processing and the consolidation of memories of emotionally arousing material. In this functional magnetic resonance study, pictures of human faces bearing fearful, angry, and happy expressions were presented to nine healthy volunteers using a backward masking procedure based on neutral facial expression. Activation of the left and right amygdala in response to the masked fearful faces (compared to neutral faces) was significantly correlated with the number of fearful faces detected. In addition, right but not left amygdala activation in response to the masked angry faces was significantly related to the number of angry faces detected. The present findings underscore the role of the amygdala in the detection and consolidation of memory for marginally perceptible threatening facial expression.