Partial disruption of fear conditioning in rats with unilateral amygdala damage: correspondence with unilateral temporal lobectomy in humans.
Conditioned fear in rats was assessed for the effects of pretraining amygdala lesions (unilateral vs. bilateral) across unconditioned stimulus (US) modalities (white noise vs. shock). In contrast to sham controls, unilateral amygdala lesions significantly reduced conditioned freezing responses, whereas bilateral amygdala lesions resulted in a nearly complete lack of freezing to both the conditioned stimulus (CS) and the context. The lesion effects were more pronounced for CS conditioning but were consistent across US modalities. It was concluded that white noise can serve as an effective US and that unilateral amygdala lesions attenuate but do not eliminate conditioned fear in rats. The results support our interpretation of a recent fear conditioning study in humans (K. S. LaBar, J. E. LeDoux, D. D. Spencer, & E. A. Phelps, 1995).
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