Encyclopedia of Pain

2007 Edition

Amygdala, Functional Imaging

  • Ute Habel
  • Frank Schneider
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-29805-2_190


Positron emission tomography (PET); functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)


The amygdala is an essential key structure in the cerebral limbic network underlying emotion processing. As such, it is suggested to be part of the brain circuit involved in the processing of pain, which is known to include strong affective components. Neuroimaging studies pointing to amygdala involvement during pain processing are currently increasing. The amygdala is a small almond shape structure in the anterior temporal lobe with a variety of functions for emotion processing together with learning and memory. It is supposed to execute an evaluative associative function, combining external cues with internal responses, thereby assessing and defining the valence, relevance and significance of stimuli. It is its extensive connectivity with various cortical and subcortical areas that enables fast automatic, but also more conscious deliberate, responses. Its role in pain processing is...

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ute Habel
    • 1
  • Frank Schneider
    • 1
  1. 1.RWTH Aachen UniversityDepartment of Psychiatry and PsychotherapyAachenGermany