An almond shaped set of neurons located deep inside the brain, mainly responsible for the generation of emotions, is called amygdala and its Latin name is Corpus Amygdaloideum.  


According to the anatomy of the human brain, brain is actually divided into three parts; forebrain, midbrain and hindbrain. Forebrain further consist of three parts; Thalamus, Hypothalamus and limbic system. Amygdala is a part of limbic system.

In simple words it is a part of forebrain and is located close to the hippocampus. They are actually two in number, one on left and other on right side of the brain but present in the close proximity.

According to the studies, limbic system development is more rapid in females than in males. Amygdala reaches its full growth in approximately 1.5 years before the peak of male development. In addition to the sex-specific developmental differences, there also exist differences in the development of right and left amygdala in males and females. The left amygdala develops more rapidly than the right one. However, the right amygdala continue to increase in volume for a longer period of time.  

As described earlier, the major role of amygdala is in the generation of emotions. The two amygdala are responsible for opposite emotions. For example, right amygdala induces negative emotions such as sadness and fear while left amygdala is responsible for either pleasant or unpleasant emotions. The left side may induce happiness or fear, anxiety and sadness, based on the neural stimulation.  

Amygdala is connected to hypothalamus, thalamus and also to the nucleus of facial nerves. It is involve in the sense of smell and receives information from the olfactory nerves.

In humans and other vertebrates, amygdala pairs the generation of memories with the emotional events. It is also involved in the emotional arousal depending on the strength of the memory.

Recent studies have shown that amygdala is involved in sexual orientation. Homosexual men have more feminine characteristics and homosexual females have more masculine patterns in the amygdala.

Difference in the volume of amygdala is correlated with the size and social networking of the individuals. Those having larger amygdala tend to have more social relations and are able to make accurate judgments of people’s faces. The size also have an effect on the emotional intelligence of the individual. Those having larger amygdala are emotionally intelligent and tend to have more cooperation with others.


By Razmia Sabahat Butt

I'm a student of BS Applied Biosciences at NUST, Islamabad.