Who’s afraid of the amygdala? Research blows away "fear center" myth


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“… and learns that there’s more to fear than fear, itself.”

Thank you so much for that laugh Maggie.

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what’s scary to me is pronouncing the word ‘amygdala.’ I always get it wrong. and then remember immediately. Makes me furious.

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I feel like it is unfair to post this reply without including a pronunciation guide for the benefit of other readers. :wink:

I’ll just say this; if you put the emphasis on the first syllable you might as well wear a badge on your forehead that says, “Bumpkin.” Trust me to get it wrong every time, even though I know better.

(sorry to jack your thread, seemed sort of relevant?)

It’s totally relevant. Based on your analysis, I’ve been pronouncing it wrong.

Maybe I shouldn’t trust my snobby friends. Proper is aMYGdala. (according to them.)

The idea that anxiety is a matter of hyper-vigilance makes sense. Our son tends to be anxious, and also very attentive to input from the environment (sound and vision). Perhaps these are related? If so, I wonder if it’s possible to train a hyper-vigilant child to translate his perception of his anxious feelings from “fear” to “attention”. He’s also very keen to know more about how the brain works, so maybe I’ll just explain what this researcher says about the amygdala. It’s not so easy to just “turn off” your fears, even if they’re without any cause, but knowing what the mechanisms are might help – by teaching him to think about it, maybe that would be a small step toward retraining the prefrontal cortex away from an anxious response.

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Wow, I wish I had some real advice for you and your son. I have lived that life and should be able to offer some guidance by now. Your son is equipped to be an artist or musician or performer of rare skill. He needs to be encouraged to follow his muse when it speaks to him and to be patient about learning the skills necessary. Sensitivity and intelligence go hand in hand to form the curious open mind required to create something new. Encourage him that his gift is real and needs to be respected and nurtured. The world will want to crush it out of him. He must become a warrior for his own cause.

Thanks - that’s very kind of you. He already considers himself an artist in the making, but I agree that he will need support and nurturing in all his skills, because they are not the ones that are conventionally valued. (He’s that kid who got in trouble in the first grade for flipping over his math worksheet to draw on the back, while all the other kids were content to answer 1+1 = 2, 2+2 = 4 over and over and over again. Not that math wasn’t his best subject, in fact he was good at it, just bored with the repetition!)

You don’t need to tell him about the world wanting to crush it out of him. That was for you.

Good luck.

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