Imagine That You Have a Medical Condition That Forces You to Let Go of One Structure in Your Brain. I. State Which Structure You Would Choose to Lose (E.G., “Hippocampus”). What Functions Would You Most Likely Lose

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Date Submitted: 09/18/2011 03:18 AM

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If I am forced to let go of one brain structure, I would choose the amygdala. The amygdala refers an almond-shaped region in the temporal cortex of the brain. It is composed of distinct subareas of nuclei; each has its own distinguished inputs and outputs. (LeDoux, 2007) While the partition of the nuclei is controversial, I would consider its several areas as a network, and I will lose all the relevant functions when the whole structure is removed.

The amygdala’s critical function is emotion processing. It receives sensory information from thalamus and cortex, interprets and sends the signal to target areas. When the amygdala is removed, this network is cut off. Consequently, I will not be able to recognizing emotional patterns, particularly fear-related. This is evidenced by research experiments on animals with amygdala lesion and behavior tasks on a patient with bilateral amygdala damage. (Feinstein, Adolphs, Damasio, & Tranell, 2011) All of them demonstrate losing a sense of fear.

Being fearless may seem good, but it can be potentially fatal. I would not be able to identify any fearful signals that usually serve to alarm people of danger. I would no longer be risk-aversive since I am not fear of losing money when the risk of losing is high but the expected return is positive. (Martino, Camerera, & Adolphsa, 2010) Moreover, I would lose the ability to identify fearful faces and to judge trustworthiness of people. (Stone, Cosmides, Tooby, Kroll, & Knight, 2002) As a result, my capability of perceiving people’s intentions, desires or beliefs may sometimes be restricted.

Another function I will probably loss is emotional memory. A functioning amygdala directs attention to emotional stimuli, easing memory encoding. Moreover, emotion facilitates consolidation of long term memory, making emotional memory persisting longer than event memory. When amygdala is removed, I’ll not be able to encode the emotion aspects of an experience into my memory. As a result, my...